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John Passant

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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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Free speech and Rupert Murdoch’s The Australian

Rupert Murdoch’s The Australian has been getting itself, once again, in a tizz, this time over free speech. If it’s not ABC bias, or refugees, or AWU slush funds, or climate change ‘skepticism’, it’s that nasty Nazi-like Labor Government attacking free speech. 

Of course, The Australian very rarely runs a line that contradicts its own deeply conservative or even reactionary positions and values.

Just to let you know how The Australian itself values free speech, here are 3 letters I have sent recently to them. None have been published.

John

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I love The Australian as the representative of the fruitcake faction of capital. But the number of nutters you are publishing in your letters and opinion pages is getting somewhat tiresome.

Left wing bias at the ABC! Climate change fear mongers! Godless atheists running our lives! Muslims terrorists everywhere! Labor Party slush funds! On and on the tirade against science and reality goes while the agenda of the Liberal Party is revealed more clearly than a Tony Abbott speech. 

To right wing fanatics the ABC looks left wing. It isn’t. It is a more moderate, balanced organisation made up of intelligent people. Thus Leigh Sales actually interviews political leaders instead of letting them off the hook. What bias to show up that idiot Abbott for the fool he is; but at least he is your fool, a paid popinjay of profit who will do your bidding.

The fact that Australian society has moved far to the right economically and socially over the last 3 decades under both Labor and the Liberals might be a better explanation of the caterwauling cacophony of criticism rising from the bowels of reaction than any change in the ABC’s more moderate approach. The ABC has moved to the right in response to this general political shift, but just not as much as The Australian and some of its audience wants. 

I don’t mind the occasional climate change denialist writing for you, but if they were printed in proportion to say the number of refereed papers supporting human induced climate change compared to those against, then the ratio would be about 1000 for anthropogenic global warming to one against. But that doesn’t happen because The Australian and the other members of the fruitcake faction aren’t interested in science; you are interested in conservative and reactionary politics and the defence of short term profits, the very logic now locking in 4 degrees warming by the end of the century.

Let’s take one example. Brenton Minge (Letters 24 December), in between rants about the ABC’s socialist collective denial and it being the lapdog of the Left proclaims that until the Arab Spring the ABC ‘was still an apologist for Gaddafi and Assad.’ Minge offers no proof for this nonsense, but might I suggest that in relation to Gaddafi at least it was the West’s leaders who welcomed him back into the tent in the mid 2000s. This was led by Tony Blair and followed by George Bush. If the ABC is some leftist conspiracy then so too were arch conservatives Tony Blair and George Bush.

I know it is too much to expect, because the process of turning The Australian into a version of Fox ‘News’ is almost complete, but occasionally, just occasionally, can some sensible representatives of capital and some sensible letter writers get a run? As for left wingers, real left wingers, those critical of capitalism, well that would be a miracle.

__________________________________________________________________

Many years ago a South African academic approached me to undertake collaborative research. I declined, pointing out that because of the apartheid regime my union had banned contact with South African universities. Given the vitriol directed against Jake Lynch and the Sydney University Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies in the letters page of The Australian, no doubt I too then was anti-free speech, a racist and a bigot for my actions.

But I was right to take a principled stand against South African apartheid.

Jake Lynch has taken the same principled stand in opposition to Israeli apartheid and rather than being vilified should be supported.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is growing across the world as the reality of ‘separateness’ in Palestine becomes clearer to more and more people. The defenders of Israeli apartheid will eventually have to address the substance of the charge against the State of Israel, that, like South Africa, it is a racist state founded on the exclusion and second class status of its other legitimate inhabitants, the Palestinians, instead of hiding behind cloak screen vilifications about anti-semitism, opposition to free speech and the rest of the rubbish being sprouted.

And before the barrage of writers respond that Israel is nothing like South Africa, I suggest they read the views of Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, the Council of South African Trade Unions and even a recent South African Christian delegation to Bethlehem and Jerusalem about Israel and its apartheid nature, people who just might know a thing or too about apartheid.

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Bruce Hawker’s suggestion ‘to recruit talented men and women directly into cabinet without them having to be elected as MPs’ is certainly worthy of further investigation. (‘PMs should be allowed a dip into talent pool’, The Australian 28 December). I know a large number of radical left wing unionists and activists who are not careerists and who think the ALP is a conservative neoliberal organisation with a fake left giving cover to Labor’s reactionary policies and actions. They would make excellent Ministers governing in the interests of the 99%. That’s what Hawker means, isn’t it? Or by talented does he mean people suitable to and governing for the 1%? Surely not.

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