John Passant

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Lex Wotton
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Do not criticise the rich and powerful
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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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What’s to celebrate on Australia Day?

January 26 is the celebration of the start of one of the great crimes of capitalism: the brutal and continuing process of genocide and dispossession of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people write the editors of Socialist Alternative.

To mark this occasion of mourning, and of resistance, we here reproduce selected sections of the pamphlet Aborigines claim citizen rights! written by Jack Patten and William Ferguson of the Aborigines Progressive Association. The pamphlet was circulated prior to the first Day of Mourning protest held on 26 January 1938, the 150th anniversary of invasion. The full document is available here.

The pamphlet, unfortunately, still reads true in so many regards. Its appeal, in such blistering tone, to take “pause in the midst of your…rejoicings” is well worth repeating on this, the 225th anniversary of invasion.

Aborigines claim citizen rights!

One hundred and fifty years

The 26th of January, 1938, is not a day of rejoicing for Australia’s Aborigines; it is a day of mourning. This festival of 150 years’ so-called “progress” in Australia commemorates also 150 years of misery and degradation imposed upon the original native inhabitants by the white invaders of this country. We, representing the Aborigines, now ask you, the reader of this appeal, to pause in the midst of your sesqui-centenary rejoicings and ask yourself honestly whether your “conscience” is clear in regard to the treatment of the Australian blacks by the Australian whites during the period of 150 years’ history which you celebrate?

The old Australians

You are the New Australians, but we are the Old Australians. We have in our arteries the blood of the Original Australians, who have lived in this land for many thousands of years. You came here only recently, and you took our land away from us by force. You have almost exterminated our people, but there are enough of us remaining to expose the humbug of your claim, as white Australians, to be a civilized, progressive, kindly and humane nation. By your cruelty and callousness towards the Aborigines you stand condemned in the eyes of the civilized world.

Plain speaking

These are hard words, but we ask you to face the truth of our accusation. If you would openly admit that the purpose of your Aborigines Legislation has been, and now is, to exterminate the Aborigines completely so that not a trace of them or of their descendants remains, we could describe you as brutal, but honest. But you dare not admit openly that your hope and wish is for our death! You hypocritically claim that you are trying to “protect” us; but your modern policy of “protection” (so-called) is killing us off just as surely as the pioneer policy of giving us poisoned damper and shooting us down like dingoes!

…We do not ask for your charity; we do not ask you to study us as scientific freaks. Above all, we do not ask for your “protection”. No, thanks! We have had 150 years of that! We ask only for justice, decency and fair play. Is this too much to ask? Surely your minds and hearts are not so callous that you will refuse to reconsider your policy of degrading and humiliating and exterminating Old Australia’s Aborigines?

…No “sentimental sympathy”, please!

We do not wish to be regarded with sentimental sympathy, or to be “preserved”, like the koala bears, as exhibits; but we do ask for your real sympathy and understanding of our plight.

We do not wish to be “studied” as scientific or anthropological curiosities. All such efforts on our behalf are wasted. We have no desire to go back to primitive conditions of the Stone Age. We ask you to teach our people to live in the Modem Age, as modern citizens. Our people are very good and quick learners. Why do you deliberately keep us backward? Is it merely to give yourselves the pleasure of feeling superior? Give our children the same chances as your own, and they will do as well as your children!

We ask for equal education, equal opportunity, equal wages, equal rights to possess property, or to be our own masters – in two words: equal citizenship! How can you honestly refuse this? In New South Wales you give us the vote, and treat us as equals at the ballot box. Then why do you impose the other unfair restriction of rights upon us? Do you really think that the 9,884 half-castes of New South Wales are in need of your special “protection”? Do you really believe that these half-castes are “naturally backward” and lacking in natural intelligence? If so, you are completely mistaken. When our people are backward, it is because your treatment has made them so. Give us the same chances as yourselves, and we will prove ourselves to be just as good, if not better, Australians, than you!

Keep your charity! We only want justice.

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Comments

Comment from Kay
Time January 26, 2013 at 7:06 am

A very relevant comment in 1938 – a time when Aboriginal ‘Protection’ Acts were in vogue. An horrific time!

But given that all such Acts have been repealed (thank heavens!!), much of this statement no longer makes sense. Many initiatives have been taken to try to redress the inequality of opportunity between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. Most are only partially successful. It is a complex problem.

Excess alcohol consumption remains a major problem preventing Aboriginal people from attaining their potential – as is the case with many other indigenous peoples around the world. This impacts most of all on health, educational and employment outcomes. Governments and indigenous people themselves have tried again and again to address the ‘alcohol problem’ – in many cases, the women in the community have declared the area to be ‘dry’. This has helped, but smuggling into the community still occurs – and no doubt, plenty of greedy ‘white’ people make good profits from that! The ‘Intervention’ is yet another attempt to address this problem – again only partially successful.

And in remote communities there are many who don’t want their children to learn English and have a Western education. But excess alcohol consumption is a problem even there – and the violence that results.

Urban Aboriginals have greater success in education than regional Aboriginals – much better access combined with more attention being paid to truancy issues. But once again, alcohol can interfere. Lack of education and limited job opportunities create feelings of powerlessness – leading to more alcohol consumption. In many areas, this problem is shared by non-indigenous people and migrants. I still place a good education as the main building block for a successful life – for those who seek that.

Since 1938 there have been many advances in the recognition of the dispossession of Aboriginal peoples. Many great Aboriginal people, such as Eddie Mabo, have advanced awareness of Aboriginal dispossession, and have gained some redress. May such advances continue.

I think on Australia Day it is good to reflect on the dispossession that occurred when white people arrived and settled throughout the country. Many atrocities occurred. These need to be remembered. In that regard, it is good that there are many Aboriginal radio and TV stations, including now NITV, that can help spread this awareness to those who wish to learn.

But a totally ‘black arm band’ message is one that the majority of Australians, including many indigenous people, do not support, and will do little other than further alienate the non-indigenous population.

Comment from Chris Warren
Time January 27, 2013 at 8:57 am

Kay

There is no such thing as a total black arm view except when it is appropriate.

You seem to be tagging simple Aboriginal self-expression as ‘black arm’ view. This is crude and inappropriate. You are in fact attacking the emerging indigenous identity.

In any case, it is more important that we do not construct a false history of “beautiful lies”.

I do not think that your implied threat, in your last paragraph, to increase the gulf between the indigenous and non-indigenous population, assists anybody except those sitting on accumulated wealth obtained from mass slaughtering of Aboriginal tribes.

It is not good enough to remember atrocities, as if in the rear-view mirror. The need is to recognise the political economy constructed these atrocities (and values) and then develop a political economy that does not feed itself through such horrors.

Comment from Jolly
Time January 29, 2013 at 11:39 am

Australia Day is also Invasion Day. This is a fact. No need to bicker over history and nothing we can do. Let’s focus on the now and march, together, towards tomorrow. That the indigenous communities in the urban areas do well in education and employment is also true for all other Australians. What we need to focus on is ensure that we do not leave any Australians behind, be it in the country, rural or remote areas of this vast land. Australia-Invasion Day is a time to reflect on this and move ahead.

Comment from Rigby Taylor
Time January 29, 2013 at 11:40 am

I agree, Chris.
Ask yourself, Kay, why people turn to alcoholism… it is because they perceive their lives to be hopeless; they can see no way forward. There are no opportunities to improve their circumstances. In the Australian indigenous people’s case they must cope with a racist press, a government that overturns the racial discrimination act in order to impose their will with little or no consultation. Racism is everywhere in society, jobs, social groups… We have governments that still see them as museum artefacts to be preserved in their original state, not trusting them to even build or own their own houses – but bring in outsiders to build, construct… and so the money that should have gone to the communities goes to the whites who do the work, then leave them unable to maintain the pathetically inadequate structures. The treatment of Aboriginal Australians in remote communities is still paternalistic and ill advised. The 1939 letter is as relevant today as it was then – not until the government makes no distinction between white and black will the community follow suit. Government discrimination breeds social discrimination.

Comment from Kay
Time January 29, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Chris

The ‘black arm band’ view I was referring to was the approach adopted by John and many others. I sometimes wonder if you people actually read what I say! I did say the 1938 statement quoted here was very relevant to its time – and if you read the 1938 statement, it is clearly referring to the Aboriginal Protection Acts – or don’t you even know about these?

I can only assume by your comments you know little about the reality of Aboriginal life, or you can’t read.

And where exactly is this “threat” you refer to?

Comment from Kay
Time January 29, 2013 at 9:43 pm

Rigby

Did you actually read my comments? I can’t see where you can find any criticism of Aboriginal people there! I did actually address the issue of WHY people turn to alcoholism.

It is a fact that alcohol is a major problem for indigenous people around the world – the USA and Canada are two examples. In the USA there is a large area of land in the Southwest that is managed by the Navajo people – called The Navajo Nation. It too is ‘dry’ – no alcohol sold in any of the many towns there – but as in ‘dry’ Aboriginal towns, there are always those who smuggle it in, despite efforts by the (Navajo) police to stamp it out.

As for The Intervention – there are some in the Aboriginal communities who have found the outcomes quite good.

I wasn’t talking about “The treatment of Aboriginal Australians in remote communities” – I was merely commenting on what I observed and was told by Aboriginal people themselves in Central Australia.

And you may have overlooked it, but there have been many, many examples of Aboriginal organisations that have been given budgets to manage local Aboriginal issues themselves – not always with good outcomes. So it is not all about ‘whites’ managing their lives.

Comment from John
Time January 30, 2013 at 5:54 am

Of course it is about Aboriginal people being managed in the interests of capital. That’s the whole point of the Northern Territory invasion, to further marginalise, suppress and dispossession Aboriginal people. Read the Little Children are Sacred Report and see its closely examined recommendations, none of which Howard or the rest of the white capitalist crew including Rudd and Gillard implemented in their rush to completely dominate the lives of Aboriginal people.

Comment from Kay
Time January 30, 2013 at 9:55 am

John

You view EVERYTHING as some plot by those dastardly capitalists! You manage to weave exactly the same story/critique into absolutely everything that happens anywhere in the world – or ever has happened. But I guess that is what to expect from a dedicated socialist. A bit boring, but not unexpected.

But remember that very few people support the socialist cause, despite your efforts to foment conflict and revolution. But like everyone else, you are entitled to your views.

Comment from Chris Warren
Time January 30, 2013 at 10:22 am

Kay

It is obvious I know more about Aboriginal reality than you do. I am concerned that people like you do not damage reconciliation by hiding necessary truths.

If you sit in buildings erected on stolen land you need to understand the processes and impacts that delivered to you your comfort.

You can criticise John Passant’s presentation but you cannot tag it with ill-digested Howard/Blainey propaganda.

Why did you ask:

where exactly is this “threat” you refer to?

When I told you exactly where it was?

It is up to all Australians to unite in recognition of the real facts of what has happened in our history and the ramifications this has for modern policy and programs.

Comment from Kay
Time January 30, 2013 at 5:58 pm

Chris

Yes, you did say where in the text I was supposed to have made some “threat”. What I meant was where in those words is there any “threat”, and what exactly have I threatened? Your accusation is completely ridiculous!

Can I assume you are homeless? You accuse me of sitting in a building “erected on stolen land”. Where do you pitch your tent or where do you camp down? On stolen land? Or are you actually Aboriginal? I would love to know why you claim to know so much more than I do about “Aboriginal reality”. All you have shown so far is that you have a different opinion.

Comment from John
Time January 30, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Kay, I suggest you have a read of an essay by Lukacs on the Marxism of Rosa Luxemburg and his discussion therein of the concept of totality. Here is a snippet from that essay in History and Class Consciousness.

IT is not the primacy of economic motives in historical explanation that constitutes the decisive difference between Marxism and bourgeois thought, but the point of view of totality. The category of totality, the all-pervasive supremacy of the whole over the parts is the essence of the method which Marx took over from Hegel and brilliantly transformed into the foundations of a wholly new science. The capitalist separation of the producer from the total process of production, the division of the process of labour into parts at the cost of the individual humanity of the worker, the atomisation of society into individuals who simply go on producing without rhyme or reason, must all have a profound influence on the thought, the science and the philosophy of capitalism. Proletarian science is revolutionary not just by virtue of its revolutionary ideas which it opposes to bourgeois society, but above all because of its method. The primacy of the category of totality is the bearer of the principle of revolution in science.
Here is a link to the article http://www.marxists.org/archive/lukacs/works/history/ch02.htm

Comment from Chris Warren
Time January 30, 2013 at 10:15 pm

Kay

Yes by all means – please assume that I am homeless. This will be entirely consistent with your approach to any truth.

Making stuff up – is no substitute for reason.

Comment from Kay
Time January 31, 2013 at 6:38 am

Chris

Typical! You are unable to address any detailed question! Very good at repeating mindless propaganda, but hopeless at handling any detailed debate! You lack logic entirely!

I could very easily tell you why I believe I have some understanding of “Aboriginal reality”, but you don’t appear to be capable of supporting any of your diatribe!

And if you actually go back to my original comment on this thread, you will find no criticism at all of Aboriginal people.

Comment from Chris Warren
Time January 31, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Kay

When people carry on like that, they usually only expose themselves. The face at the bottom of the well is your own.

I do not know why you are engaging in strange diversions. You need to show where I raised any supposed:

criticism at all of Aboriginal people.

by you.

You need to refocus on issues at hand.

I see nothing wrong with criticising Aboriginal people, the same as anyone else, based on objective standards.

Comment from Kay
Time February 1, 2013 at 6:51 am

Chris

More ramblings by you – no substance!

You stated: “It is obvious I know more about Aboriginal reality than you do.” I asked for some justification for this statement – you have none! You then continued with the statement: “If you sit in buildings erected on stolen land you need to understand the processes and impacts that delivered to you your comfort.” I merely asked why this did not also apply to you. Still no explanation.

All your comments are critical of my original comment, and you accuse me of some undefined “threat”. You have yet to explain/support anything you have said. Perhaps you need to “refocus”!

Comment from Chris Warren
Time February 1, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Kay

Please stop all this diversion and pretence.

1) there was no undefined threat – you will find all the necessary detail in my post of 27 January.

2) you were the one who introduced the issue of supposed knowing about Aboriginal reality. See your post of 29 January.

3) I do understand the processes and impacts of stolen land, and the ball has always been in your court.

4) Your claim of no substance, should mean that you should remain silent. I know you are only pretending. However for the record:

There is no such thing as a total black arm view except when it is appropriate.

You seem to be tagging simple Aboriginal self-expression as ‘black arm’ view. This is crude and inappropriate. You are in fact attacking the emerging indigenous identity.

In any case, it is more important that we do not construct a false history of “beautiful lies”.

I do not think that your implied threat, in your last paragraph, to increase the gulf between the indigenous and non-indigenous population, assists anybody except those sitting on accumulated wealth obtained from mass slaughtering of Aboriginal tribes.

It is not good enough to remember atrocities, as if in the rear-view mirror. The need is to recognise the political economy constructed these atrocities (and values) and then develop a political economy that does not feed itself through such horrors.

Does this sound familiar to you?

Please no more abuse from you.