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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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Saturday’s socialist speak out

Ford is closing its production plants in Australia in Australia, with 1200 jobs there to go. Many more in associated supply companies and more widely will disappear.  The ‘solutions’ offered by governments, bosses, unions and pundits have all accepted the right of capital to destroy workers lives.

It is this fundamental priority – profit is paramount – that should be challenged to defend the 1200 jobs at Ford, not bowing down before profit and worshiping at its altar.

Nationalising Ford would challenge the Grundnorm that is profit, partially, but the agency of this unlikely change is generally government, not workers.

Car workers occupying Ford would challenge the paramountcy of profit in a more fundamental way because it would immediately raise the question of production – for the market or for social need? And this in turn raises the question of democracy – how do hundreds of workers make these decisions other than through a democratic process of discussion, debate and voting?

The fight to defend Ford jobs, if it happens, could see the struggle for their workplace set in train a process that changes not just the ideas of workers but their reality, the reality they create and re-create every day on the production line.

In Melbourne construction workers fought for safety on Myer Emporium, a Grocon site.  A court has found the union in contempt for running a community picket of the site.  Grocon’s billionaire owner has suffered no sanction. Since the picket 4 people have died at or near Grocon building sites – one a worker on the Myer Emporium site and the others 3 pedestrians walking past another Grocon site.

The reconciliation round in Australian Rules saw a 13 year old girl racially abuse Swans player Adam Goodes. Racism is endemic in Australian society, driven from the top down. The vitriol against refugees that spews from the mouth of the filth in the Labor government and the Opposition, the anti-terrorism rhetoric and reality, the Northern Territory intervention, indigenous deaths in custody, the beat up about 457 visas, for example, all feed the flames of racism.

Deputy Liberal Party leader and soon to be Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop has called for all funding to individuals and institutions who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel to be blocked.  What next – the burning of all BDS material in the quad at Sydney University?

In Woolwich in London 2 individual terrorists butchered an army drummer.  State terrorists like David Cameron have used this act of barbarity to further their power over the mass of the population and continue unhindered and unquestioned their barbarism from Afghanistan to the Middle East. There are no tears for the children they kill.

Barack Obama in a speech yesterday continued to justify killing children in the name of the war on terror. US state terrorism is really about the world’s super power, with an economy in decline and fearing the rise of a competitor for global dominance, attempting to contain the growing threat to its hegemony.

Maybe if Western rulers stopped invading Muslim countries, stopped killing their women and children, stopped supporting ‘our’ dictators over them and withdrew troops and bases from the region, maybe that would be a good first step into stopping reprisals and blow-back. To stop individual terrorism stop state terrorism.

One way of helping bring that about is to strengthen the peace movements here but until a mass peace movement explodes (probably as a response to the next war our leaders unleash) the task will be very very difficult.

It raises a wider question – of the need to build a political  organisation that links war to state terrorism and on to job losses, the slow march to climate catastrophe, safety on building sites, better health care and public education, in a word that understands the linkage between all the issues of the day that is capitalism.  That is the organisation Socialist Alternative is trying to build.

The Australian Budget will be in deficit for many many years. As a percentage of GDP even the current blowout is minor. By global standards Australia’s federal Government debt is miniscule.

However as part of this surplus fetish disease, the Liberals when they win the 14 September election plan to save the economy by destroying it.  That won’t cure the revenue collapse but it will create a reserve army of workers (many more unemployed) and drive down labour costs and thus improve the bottom line for those companies not dragged down the cesspit of recession.

But deficit disease is really just code for attacking workers and shoveling more of the wealth we create to the profit bludgers.

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Comments

Comment from Dave
Time May 25, 2013 at 12:09 pm

‘However as part of this surplus fetish disease, the Liberals when they win the 14 September election plan to save the economy by destroying it. That won’t cure the revenue collapse but it will create a reserve army of workers (many more unemployed) and drive down labour costs and thus improve the bottom line for those companies not dragged down the cesspit of recession.’
So there is no structural cause of crisis then but rather its the Liberal’s plan? And would increasing the supply of labour-power and lowering its cost be good or bad for capital ( if good how is this ‘destroying’ the economy which is nothing but capitalism, unless you think the economy exists separate from capitalism?) And recession? In Australia? Not yet…..

Comment from John
Time May 25, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Ho hum. The forthcoming recession, as the context makes clear. And where do I say there is no structural cause of crises in capitalism or that the economy is separate from capitalism? What nonsense. But read into my writing whatever analysis you want. A bit like me saying you support conservative austerity.

Comment from Dave
Time May 25, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Then why write ‘However as part of this surplus fetish disease, the Liberals when they win the 14 September election plan to save the economy by destroying it’? Also is there a forthcoming recession? There might be but how do we know except as some article of faith? The current attacks by capital around the funding of social reproduction are driven in part by the global crisis of capital but not by its clear manifestation here. Why don’t we talk about capital as it is, sure with an eye on the future, but a future we can’t more than guess about.

Comment from Ross
Time May 25, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Austerity only works for the elite 1%. It destroys real productivity by killing education and any motivation to achieve.

Our contrived GFC has a singular purpose of giving more and more power to an elite few. They justify it environmentally by classifying the masses as being a blight on their planet.

So choose, their planned total enslavement of all humanity or freedom to determine your own destiny.

Comment from John
Time May 25, 2013 at 9:56 pm

Because Dave, on 14 September the odds are we will have a liberal government committed to attacking the welfare state, and workers more generally. This isn’t rocket science.

Whether they do or not is a question first of the bourgeoisie’s assessment of the likely response of workers, and of the state of the economy. The fact that profit rates in Australia might be higher than the rest of the developed world – Peter Jones from the ANU has a few pieces on this and did a good presentation at Marxism 2013, buy the CD – doesn’t mean our rulers can escape the global logic of further austerity to seemingly benefit capital. They are searching all the time for countervailing tendencies to the rate of profit to fall.

Apart from not understanding their own system, in the bosses’ eyes, or some of them anyway, deeper austerity protects Australian exceptionalism, so they think, it shifts more surplus value to capital, and it maybe redresses the uneveness of the boom or rather improves the profitability of those sections of Australian capitalism like manufacturing with a rate of return of around 6 per cent compared to mining with 20% and banking with 16%.

The AFR, the bosses’ paper, has begun raising the question of and possibility of recession in Australia.

the reference to destroying the economy to save it is a throw back to the Vietnam war and a comment by an American commander they had to destroy the village to save it.

Comment from Chris Warren
Time May 28, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Dave

Did you really mean to ask:

( if good how is this ‘destroying’ the economy which is nothing but capitalism, unless you think the economy exists separate from capitalism?)

When capitalism does, what-is-good-for-capitalism, it (by that alone) necessarily destroys itself.

When some capitalism does what is bad for capitalism, the particular capitalists get replaced.