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John Passant

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August 2013
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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
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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

The shadows of Iraq and Afghanistan are cast across Syria.

It is a sign of the decline of US imperialism and the strength of opposition at home and around the globe to attacking Syria that Obama is now reduced to only talking about a limited strike on the country.

The British Parliament revolted against any participation in the attacks.  The French President is isolated at home for his support of attacking Syria.

Australia’s Labor Party Prime Minister Kevin Rudd  said he didn’t want history to record that we were a party to turning a blind eye. Australia generally supports the US, the major imperialist power, to give it cover for its own imperialist expansion in the region and an insurance policy in future imperialist wars. In this case the Opposition leader Tony Abbott is sounding more moderate than Rudd, urging calm and not to pick sides.

To oppose US intervention in Syria is not to support the dictator. It is to recognise that imperialism has its own reasons for invading or attacking other countries and that those reasons are not to liberate or protect the people. They are to further its own interests.

In the case of the US it is to ensure its continued dominance of the Middle East continues or can be regained after the uprisings across the region. That in part means both laying the groundwork for US friendly regimes to arise from the ashes of revolution and isolating Iran.

It may be the Obama strategy is stalemate – to prop up or support the Syrian National Council enough to stop Assad from winning but also to ensure they don’t either.

Revolutionaries need to be clear. We support the revolution of the Syrian people against the butcher Assad. And we oppose Western intervention.

In Australia there were some bombings in Broome.  They may be terrorist attacks on indigenous  people. Silence, except for this in the Guardian and a few other straight reports.

the Murdoch election continues as the two parties of neoliberalism battle it out. It looks as if the Labor experiment to change the seller of their shit sandwich isn’t working with polls showing major losses across the country.

It didn’t take workers long to figure out the problem isn’t the leader of Labor but its neoliberal policies.  That may mean the Liberals’ political honeymoon is short-lived.

The election may not be a Gillard disaster for Labor but it will likely be a major defeat. The end result will be some hand wringing from Labor about the ‘evil’ Greens and getting their message out better, and shifting further to the right socially and economically.

The main debate appears to be over costings. This is all bull dust. Whoever wins will slash and burn. The bourgeoisie and the logic of neoliberalism demand it.  If as likely it is the Coalition that wins then the black hole they discover will be so great that all previous positive promises will be put on the backburner and the not so nice ones – 12000 public service jobs to go by natural attrition for example – will be increased.

As Labor gets more desperate, Kevin Rudd runs up more flags of convenience.  In the debate on Wednesday evening Rudd signaled that he was uncomfortable with direct foreign investment in land. Of course this economic nationalism and populism was about winning back votes and won’t see any real change in Labor’s free market ideas and practice.

Foreign direct investment is vital for Australian capitalism. Labor isn’t going to threaten that in any real way. The ruling class knows that.

Another thought bubble Rudd came up with was to move the navy from Garden Island in Sydney Harbor to somewhere north, somewhere to help shore up marginal seats. Even if Labor were miraculously to win the election this nonsense won’t go ahead.

Labor also unveiled $52 million for scoping buying land for a Melbourne to Brisbane very fast train. A bit of vision, not much money.

These announcements are all about giving the impression of vision without actually committing to anything concrete.

The Northern Territory as a tax haven,  shifting the navy from Garden Island to the north,  restricting foreign ownership of land, scoping a very fast train, all these show Labor’s desperation. Its campaign launch on Sunday might contain more.

In sport, both Aussie Rules and Rugby League had bad weeks because of drug scandals. The unifying link was the drive for better performance. This is the logic of capitalism. To win we (clubs, players) need to get an edge over our competitors.  If that involves experimenting with supplements whose effect on players is unknown or using peptides, then so be it.  In a commercial sporting environment, winning is everything.

Tony Abbott tried to win over women to and with his charm. Two of his daughters began the Liberal Party launch, talking about their netball Dad. Netball is played by one million women and girls in Australia. Then Abbott made a funding announcement for netball, flanked by a team of young netballing women who had been training.

Even then he couldn’t help himself, telling the group of teenagers  that a bit of body contact never hurt anyone.   As Peter Munro in the Sydney Morning Herald put it he sounded less daggy dad and more dodgy uncle.

Despite his protestations to the contrary Abbott’s brand of social conservatism sees women as second class citizens and gays and lesbians as not worthy of equality.

Economic austerity and social reaction will be the loci of struggle in the forthcoming years in Australia. Given the class collaboration that has dominated the leadership of the trade union movement that probably means they will wear whatever atrocities Abbott unleashes on workers. Given the lack of leadership workers might too.

But the fight for refugees and for equal love, even the campaigns to stop the wars on whatever country is next on the agenda of Western imperialism might attract more supporters including from the leadership and much more importantly the membership of the newly oppositional Greens and Labor parties. [Update – after major demonstrations in Sydney and Melbourne it is clear the Stop the War on Syria campaign in Australia is infested and infected with pro-Assad forces and is, as my comrades are fond of saying in another context, objectively reactionary. We will need if we can to establish a Stop the War on Syria campaign that opposes both US intervention and the butcher Assad while supporting the revolution and the genuine revolutionaries fighting for freedom and food, justice and jobs.]

There is still hope because the reality of capitalism creates the very need to fight back.

To have your say or to see what others are saying hit the comments button under the heading. Like all posts on this blog comments close after 7 days.

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Comments

Comment from Chris Warren
Time August 31, 2013 at 10:15 pm

Worthwhile reading ….

http://archive.is/Sd49F

Also of interest is the map

http://archive.is/PlifK

Some claim that the evidence points to rockets launched from a “Syrian army post near Damascus” – which Finnish researcher Petri Krohn (currently conducting a meticulous investigation) conclusively placed as occupied by the “rebels” since June. ( http://archive.is/i7veM scroll down to Sect. 13, “Qaboun rocket launches”)