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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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Left wins Curtin student elections

The Curtin Student Guild elections concluded last week with a hard-fought victory for the left writes Jess McLeod in Socialist Alternative.

Student elections at Curtin have not been so contested in years. This was also the first time since 1996 that left wing students, unaligned to the Labor Party, have run a full ticket. This year saw a match between the left and right. Left Action, an alliance of left wing students, went head-to-head with Unity, a right wing ticket dominated and organised by Liberal party students.

Left Action won President, Education Vice President, Women’s officer, Queer officer and 4 councillors, knocking the Liberals out of key positions. Running on a principled and openly left wing basis, Left Action’s platform was for a Guild that would stand up for students’ rights and support social justice campaigns. There was clearly an audience for this at Curtin.

Our opponents’ motto, “Real students, real issues, real results”, was an attack on the Left, saying that politics should stay out of the guild.

 Of course Unity wanted to seem apolitical – because they were attempting to get Liberal Party members elected into key positions in the Guild.

Their “apolitical” election campaign was also part of a right wing attack on the work of Left Action officer bearers this year. In particular they were hostile to the successful marriage equality campaign work carried out by this year’s Queer officer, Sam Cavallaro, and I.

Not only has the work given a boost to the campaign, it has also shown the positive role that student organisations can play when they engage with issues that matter to students.

The Guild is set up with equity departments, such as women’s, queer and international, to acknowledge the discrimination that is faced by sections of the student population. The right’s denial of this was an implicit attack on an important area of the Guild.

It also meant that Unity gave a green light to some of their extremely right wing supporters. Left Action’s material was defaced and homophobic abuse yelled at campaigners. Unity supporters even attempted to whip up anti-communist hysteria with a poster campaign resurrecting the Nazi slogan “Better Dead Than Red!”

The right wing nature of Unity’s “apolitical” campaign was most exposed by the issue of the impending course and budget cuts at Curtin. Although they claimed to be about “real students, real issues” they had nothing to say about the cuts!

Curtin’s administration has recently announced a major restructuring of the funding model. Twenty percent will be taken from the academic salaries budget of every school and put into a research pool. Schools will then have to compete with each other, based on research output, to retrieve the funds.

As Curtin strives to become a research intensive university it will mean even less for the under-resourced teaching sector and a more market driven education system.

Students who ran with Left Action recognised that the Guild is not about offering a student perspective to the university management. The Guild needs to be oriented to defending students’ rights and giving students an avenue to be involved. This message clearly appealed to a significant layer of students.

The recent elections are a victory for the left and have laid the basis for a serious campaign against the cuts at Curtin University in 2013.

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Comments

Comment from Ryan
Time October 2, 2012 at 9:25 pm

You disgust me with you drivel. At least get the basics right before you write defamatory crap about people

Comment from No No
Time October 2, 2012 at 9:33 pm

No.

Comment from John
Time October 2, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Not sure what you mean Ryan. This is an article by Jess McLeod, one of the Left Action people elected. I assume she knows what she is talking about. My oh my, the right doesn’t like it when their god given right to rule is challenged and people actually organise a fight back against neoliberalism. Ah, do you mean the stuff about the Nazi slogan? You mean it wasn’t a Nazi slogan? Funny that. Because it was a Nazi slogan. I tell you what. You stick to having $100 a head dinners like your soul mates in Sydney. Alan Jones might be free for one soon enough.

Comment from Dean
Time October 2, 2012 at 10:00 pm

You’ve got to be shitting me.

Unity had nothing to do with any CCS material and they did not support Unity, they supported anyone who was running against Left Action.

Nazi slogans? Please, it was based off the Cold War slogan by the Americans.

Hostile towards your anti-homophobia campaign? Hell no, in fact prove to me where they showed any actual hostility towards your campaign.

Unity were an apolitical group with apolitical intentions. Regardless of the alignment of it’s members, it’s campaign was truly based on real Guild issues.

The cherry on the cake though, your material was defaced? Your material was defacing! From the bazillion trees wasted with littering the campus with your posters and flyers, to actually resorting to graffiti. So much for a positive University environment, that is the worst I have ever seen the place.

Comment from Ryan’s Right.
Time October 2, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Just a quick point – it wasn’t unity supporters writing that and defacing posters. It was the students who were sick of having pamphlets shoved into our hands, rude question asking who we voted for (ummm LA – thats not actually allowed as per uni rules) and having posters and chalk defacing the campus.

But really looking forward to the peace in Palestine that LA promised…

Comment from John
Time October 2, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Better dead than red was a Nazi slogan. Unity was cover for Liberals. Writing Fagtion shows a complete contempt for homosexuals. The world has changed. There is a group at Universities who want to oppose the neoliberalism of the University managers and governments and their course cutting. Get used to it. Your cosy party with the VC is over.

Comment from John
Time October 2, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Gee, you surveyed the students did you? Or do you just speak as of right on their behalf, assuming to know what they think, especially in light of the fact that a large number seem to have supported Left Action. BTW the fight is for justice for Palestine. LA didn’t promise peace in Palestine but I guess right wingers who have had their apple cart upset by left upstarts can’t accept the new reality. This is about building a fighting Guild to resist course cuts and other things that immediately and adversely impact on students. All the things Unity wasn’t going to do because it is the VC’s lackey. Love the reaction. The born to rules are getting upset. Good.

Comment from Dean
Time October 2, 2012 at 10:09 pm

John, it was meant with the US context, and the students who saw the posters understood that before LA felt the need to censor us.

Unity was not a cover from the Liberals, it had Liberal affiliates but it was a party with no political agenda. Simple as that, it was in fact real issues that faced students.

Fagtion was not by Unity, CCS or anyone affiliated with any of those parties. It was someone sick of the vandalism of the University campus.

Comment from Dean
Time October 2, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Surveyed? We are the students, John. Capitalist Society? It’s not some legitimate thing, it was simply created as an opposition to Left Action. We are a large group of students with more than just some numbers on a Facebook page, who simply oppose LA. Sure, I am a capitalist but I find it offensive you would imply we are the conservatives when the majority of us are actually left in terms of social-conscience. This just proves how out of touch you are with your arguments, when you take us as a serious group of money-mongering capitalist 1%ers when in the end, we are simply an opposition to harassment and vandalism.

Comment from Ryan’s Right.
Time October 2, 2012 at 10:34 pm

I’m not a right wing supporter. Or a unity supporter. So please don’t assume I am either if you don’t know me, or my beliefs.

I was one of the students who was annoyed about the way that LA (and to a lesser extent unity) behaved in the election. Other students who I spoke too were annoyed. Some of those students tore down posters, some of those students wrote things on the posters. I personally didn’t. I never said I spoke for the whole student body and I assume those who support unity wouldn’t have been frustrated by their behaviour during the elections.

There was no need to be rude John. And frankly, I finish in a week so I don’t really care who’s in power next year.

I just would like them to behave as a better representative of the left, and more professionally, during elections in the future.

Comment from Emil Cholich
Time October 2, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Dearest Mr Passant,

Pazzo, can I call you Pazzo? Paz? ohk, Paz. So I saw your many blogs about Curtin University and our guild elections. I’m glad to see you take such an interest in our university and we appreciate all the support we can get. I think the best way to support the students of Curtin (for whom you seem to hold a great deal of interest in, judging by the recent frequency of related posts in your blog), is to post corrections for all of the one sided material you have posted.

You see theres a lot of stuff about Left Action being victimised. This is all one sided hogwash. Last year after being fed up with the constant over-campaigning by left action (a frustration felt by many, many students, if you want screenshots from the universities Facebook group backing up that this isn’t a small group I can provide so, see unlike you when I say something it’s founded in fact) I put up a poster headlined “Left Action; Because Your Right Hand’s Tired”, the tired right hand refers to people preferring to masturbate with their dominant hand (usually being their right hand), and the Left Action representatives being entirely massive wankers.

About a year later a photo of my poster was sitting buried on said Universities Facebook page. Someone “Liked” it (I don’t know fi you know what this is, since you’re old, but I’ll jsut keep going). This caused about 200 other people to like it over the next day or so. What started after taht was a trend of other people putting up their own anti Left Action posters. The reason this poster adn the behaviour of putting up posters resonated was because there was a general frustration about the amount of Left Action flyer distribution and over postering.

When I confronted LA last year about taking down my poster they said it was because it unfairly targeted them, and the other group “Unity” was also engaging in similar campaigning behaviours. So this year I went out of my way to make a poster that was applicable to the over-postering by both parties, now while I heard from people that Unity found the posters, which featured simply a large picture of a kitten with a small caption stating “A PICTURE OF A KITTEN: to balance out all of those ugly guild posters”. Left Action tore these as well as posters made by at least two other completely separate groups.

In your articles you state that Unity is a right wing group. I don’t know if this is the case. Your only support for saying this is that their right wing nature was “exposed by the issue of impending course and budget cuts at Curtin”. “Course cutting” is an exaggerated term. Unity, while it could be run by people who are right wing aren’t like Left Action, which prides itself on being closely tied to a political group (Socialist Alternative, which, surprise, you seem you be pretty tight with yourself).

You also talk about the poster “Better Red Than Dead”. Now while as a communications student I agree thats an over the top bit of satire I can tell you that the students who did this don’t understand that in the pompous self-important minds of the Socialist Alternative and their Left Action subsidiary that this might be considered a legitimate threat.

Your blog never took time to consider this, it is heavily one sided and you seem to have done no research. The reason Left Action won the election is because all the people they frustrated didn’t care enough to vote against them, they just wanted them to stop pestering them, if you had been on campus this semester you’d have seen how much worse they were than Unity in this sense. The students that were forming this coalition of anti-left in your mind largely would sit on the left of the political spectrum and while they would agree with the view of Left Action in a lot of cases are alienated by their tying all of their political aspirations to an election that should be based on university issues. “peace in pakistan” and “pro-gay marriage” are not these, and while they’re great values to have they do not belong on campaign posters for a guild election, and identical guild election posters certainly shouldn’t be lined up 12 in a row all over the uni.

Nobody hates left wing politics at Curtin. Left Action are just a group of assholes, they won less than a majority of seats and hounded people who wouldn’t vote into voting by scaring them with exaggerated truths and fabrications about course cuts. It was dishonest and they tore down any press that disagreed with them. Stalin would be proud.

Best of luck in your closed-minded endeavours, I’m sure it’s hard decreeing free speech as a saviour for the world, while supporting a group that has no respect for the opinions of others. You truly are a hypocrite of gigantic proportions.

Emil.

Comment from Kayla
Time October 2, 2012 at 11:13 pm

As a student with no previous guild party affiliations or biases, it’s safe to say the way this years guild elections have been handled has been beyond pathetic. Throughout the course of my undergrad and postgrad I’ve never felt ashamed of Curtin as i do now. Yes both parties have received slander from one another, a difficult thing to handle, even more so when it’s a personal attack, but those people need to learn how to handle themselves. Attacking each other over forums on social media sites doesn’t help your case, act like the adults you are supposed to be. What infuriates me more is the assumption that not supporting LA makes you a “$100 a head diner” – again, you cannot criticise stereotypes by creating another. Both LA and Unity have justified points within their campaigns, yet this year the election lost focus of those issues, instead attacking what the other party isn’t doing. Conversations with those students promoting each campaign quickly degraded to childish accusations resembling those from childhood of “LOOK MUM, he’s not doing it properly!” It’s safe to say that the immature attitudes of all involved has resulted in many students deliberately avoiding to vote. I will say I agree with Ryan regarding the chalk messages all over the university, yes they made their point, now clean them up! Both parties need to reflect on their behaviours of late. Speaking to students around the university the common feeling is if there was an option for guild elections who conducted themselves with greater maturity, they would be the ones currently elected.

Comment from John
Time October 2, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Just to let whichever idiot impersonated me and subscribed me by falsely representing they were me to the Liberal Party newsletter and giving them my email address, I will be referring the matter to the police for investigation.

Comment from Emil Cholich
Time October 2, 2012 at 11:41 pm

John, you’ve forgotten to reply to my message and have instead spent your time bothering police officers who have one million better things to do than find out who subscribed you to a newsletter you can block with one click of a button, you child.

Comment from Jenny LeComte
Time October 2, 2012 at 11:43 pm

Well done, Jess and JP.

Comment from hotelsdown
Time October 2, 2012 at 11:44 pm

i for one am pretty happy that the bunch of born-to-rule young liberals that crawl out of the woodwork every time there is an election for student representative positions were kept as far as possible from success in the curtin university council elections.

from experience, i can say that young libs will stop at nothing to make sure they win. they’ll slander, mud-fling and cheat as much as they can.

i’m a supporter of left action at uwa, but the way the libs have behaved towards the ‘STAR’ party at uwa this year is of particular note, if one wasn’t convinced already of the pathetic nature of young libs: young liberals started up a party called ‘student labor’ and fielded an exchange student with the same name as the labor-party-member presidential candidate for STAR.

they were prevented from having the name ‘student labor’ for their party, and from having such a candidate run for them for president, but they changed their name back to ‘progressive voice’. they ran with this name /last/ year, tricking more people into wasting their votes on young libs.

Comment from Emil Cholich
Time October 2, 2012 at 11:45 pm

also, why are there two banner ads on this website? are you profiteering from free speech with advertising, the epitome of the scourge that is the capitalist agenda

Comment from Kayla
Time October 3, 2012 at 12:11 am

Emil, your posters are amazing. Keep up the kittens

Comment from K
Time October 3, 2012 at 1:29 am

Mate I think you need to take the stick out of your ass and read Emil’s comment. Preferably in that order. Thanks for giving me a good laugh though you pompous git

Comment from other jon
Time October 3, 2012 at 1:30 am

ALL YOU RIGHT WINGERS DUN GOOF’D, JOHNS CALLED THE CYBER POLICE AND THEY ARE BACK TRACING YOU RIGHT NOW.
YOU PUNKS DUN GOOF’D I TELL YOU!!!!