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John Passant

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January 2013



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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)



Beware the ides of September, Labor

By Sunday 15 September Julia Gillard and her Labor Government will have been assassinated thrice over by an electorate lean and hungry for revenge.

The election, on 14 September, will be a disaster for Labor. They have lost the support of the working class, including in Western Sydney. The predicted ten seat loss in western Sydney alone will be enough to see them lose Government. They cannot win it back.

Losses in other states will offset possible (I stress possible) gains in Queensland.

Why did Gillard announce the election date over 8 months before it will happen? Certainty is her buzzword.

Capitalism demands certainty evidently. In a system built on competition and the constant contradictions between and within different blocs of capital, this desire for certainty seems more like a longing for sleep, perchance a dream.

By announcing the election 8 months early Gillard has cried havoc and let slip the dogs of war; returning to their vomit these very same dogs will devour her and her government. The fool repeats her folly.

Yond Abbott has a lean and hungry look, but unlike Cassius he thinks too little. However that makes him dangerous in elections when platitudes replace policy; when workers lap up the difference that is sameness and yearn for change, any change, sweet sister, deleterious change, and in the morning after, Labor’ll be dead.

That is should come to this! 

Eight months of Abbott rambling on about trust and Gillard prattling where’s your costed policies? This difference of the same hides the fact that they have very similar approaches on most things with minor variations, or in the case of the resource rent tax, miner variations.

Though the decision to name the election day is madness, there is method in it. Gillard hopes to trap Abbott into imploding. Eight months is a long time for him to do so. Even if he does, voters will forgive him. A drover’s dog could win it for the Liberals.

 Conservatives have seen all that Abbott has made, and it is very good, to them.

Those workers Labor has deserted are deserting them. The whirligig of time will bring its revenge.

These disillusioned workers seek refuge on the island of abandoned dreams. The miserable have no other medicine but hope. Illusion is reality. For Abbott is an honourable man; so are they all, all honourable men and women.

Until, we fear, they unleash the meat axe onto the public service and heath and education spending and ramp up the misogynist, racist,anti-refugee and homophobic rhetoric to distract attention from their anti-working class agenda.

As for Gillard, will all great Neptune’s ocean wash the blood of Rudd and Crossin clean from her hands? No, this her hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red.

Unfortunately making the green one red isn’t true in any real way for the Greens whose left wing policies are not red; they are not even pink. And they are disappearing.

Those salad days, when they were green in judgment, are no more.

What choice, what choice? Out damned spots!

And what shall we say of Gillard’s loss? Nothing in her political life became her like the leaving it?

Enough of Shakespeare. The play’s the thing and this 7 month long interlude is designed to trap young Abbott, perhaps help keep the jester in his place and cement the uneasy crown on the Queen against her plotters. The reality is both Gillard and Abbott are past their dancing days.

Neither has the qualities or the policies to lead a country like Australia, an advanced capitalist country buffeted by a sea of sorrows from downturn in Europe and America.

Their policies – accelerated austerity from the Liberals and slow and steady suffering from Labor – cry for one response. A plague on both their houses.

Falling profit rates globally and the logic of neoliberal austerity locally mean that whatever government wins office the result will be much the same – neoliberal attack after neoliberal attack.

Such is Labor’s degeneration that on election night voters shall rejoice that parting is such sweet sorrow, that they shall say good night till it be morrow. But it will be too late. We shall have heard the chimes by midnight, the dirge for neoliberal Labor.

Labor will not be cut from the jaws of electoral death unless it renounces neoliberalism and begins a program of class war against the bosses. They won’t. They can’t.

We can. Men at some time are masters of their fates: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.

It is time to end the age of underlings, for us to rise up.

Arise, ye workers from your slumber,
Arise, ye prisoners of want.
For reason in revolt now thunders,
and at last ends the age of cant!
Away with all your superstitions,
Servile masses, arise, arise!
We’ll change henceforth the old tradition,
And spurn the dust to win the prize!
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
The Internationale,
Unites the human race.
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
The Internationale,
Unites the human race

No more deluded by reaction,
On tyrants only we’ll make war!
The soldiers too will take strike action,
They’ll break ranks and fight no more!
And if those cannibals keep trying,
To sacrifice us to their pride,
They soon shall hear the bullets flying,
We’ll shoot the generals on our own side.
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
The Internationale,
Unites the human race.
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
The Internationale,
Unites the human race.

No saviour from on high delivers,
No faith have we in prince or peer.
Our own right hand the chains must shiver,
Chains of hatred, greed and fear.
E’er the thieves will out with their booty,
And to all give a happier lot.
Each at his forge must do their duty,
And we’ll strike the iron while it’s hot.
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
The Internationale,
Unites the human race.
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
The Internationale,
Unites the human race.

Before he died my comrade Alistair Hulett did a great version of the Internationale with Jimmy Gregory. Here is a link.

Like all posts on this blog, comments (see the link under the heading) close after 7 days.



Comment from Mike
Time January 31, 2013 at 8:42 am

While I agree with many of your criticisms of the ALP, I remain a member and mix with members who are deeply critical of the policy poisitions of the Federal caucus and Cabinet.

But I am not clear what the practical political implications of your argument are. Do not vote? Vote for a far left candidate who will not come close to winning?

I know members of the CPSU who work for the Federal govt. If someone where to get up at a CPSU meeting and say ‘The Libs and Labor are the same’ – they would likely get a very dismissive response.

I would like the Federal election to be choice between a neoliberal Coalition and a mass popular socialist party. But the foundations for such a choice simply do not exist at present.

I suspect most progressive-minded workers will vote Labor – albeit with little or no enthusiasm.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time January 31, 2013 at 9:13 am

I am also concerned about Labor’s anti-democracy agendas, such as:

.empowering amalgamated councils as mini-states

. abolishing state governments

. abolishing the Senate

Tony Abbott is promising to protect:

. our Freedom of Speech

. our superannuation nest eggs.

These are well chosen promises, but will he carry them out?

As we know, Labor/Greens and Liberals all support kissing the butts of corporates so they can rip us all off and build their empires at the expense of small businesses, while paying little tax in Australia. Failure to protect workers’ wages and working conditions is just part of this fiasco and ties in with a plan to euthanise older people.

This is very dangerous to our nest eggs, which may never be recouped in the future.

Comment from John
Time January 31, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Thanks Mike. I am all for voting, and use the heightened interest in politics to make propaganda about socilaism. I see struggle against the powers that be, especially in our workplaces, as the key. It is true, as I wrote in Running to where the ball will be and its reprise, that today socialists would get little support in elections, although the Socialist Alliance has 2 council seats and the Socialist Party 1.

I don’t think our focus should be elections; it should be the struggle – to defend refugees, for equal love, for clean air and an end to climate change, for safety on site, for better wages, in defence of jobs and so on. That si what Socialist Alternative is aiming to do, while at the same time broadening the organisation (it is too small to be a party yet) by merging with the revolutionary socialist party.

That isn’t easy, and it won’t happen overnight, but it does seem to me we need to build a revolutionary socialist party committed to socialism from below, the working class setting up its own democratic institutions of governance to organise production to satisfy human need, not to make a profit.

Labor is the party of neoliberlaism, not because it has been taken over by middle class neoliberals but because of its role – to manage capitalism and protect profitability.

So my task is long term; it is and will be slow, but from where I sit it is the only long term alternative to an ALP whose role is to run the system for Gina, Twiggy, Clive, and Rupert.

Comradely regards, John

Comment from Lorikeet
Time January 31, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Some of us are now waiting to see if Julia will marry Tim in a wedding ceremony of royal proportions, in the hope of boosting the female vote.

Comment from John
Time January 31, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Interestingly Mike, in the 80s we in the Pubic Service Action group used to make those arguments and the need to fight Labor industrially. We had a bit of an audience because Labor was in power and attacking its own staff.

I doubt that many progressive minded workers will vote for Labor. Some, if not many, are more likely to go to the Greens

Comment from Kay
Time February 1, 2013 at 3:48 pm

The most appealing feature of Socialists is that wonderful, rousing song – the Internationale! Just love it – always have!

Comment from Jolly
Time February 4, 2013 at 6:17 pm

Gillard has made (even) Abbott look good. Two years ago I was actively wishing Turnbull’s return. Now, even Abbott will do. The more I hear Gillard, her lies, her class & gender warfare, her paws in our hard earned super, etc etc, the more is Abbott smelling sweet.

Comment from John
Time February 5, 2013 at 5:29 am

Class and gender war Jolly? If only.

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