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John Passant

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February 2014



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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)



Saturday’s socialist speak out

The port at Abbott’s Point in northern Queensland is being expanded to allow an extra 70 million tonnes of coal worth around $2 bn a year to be exported. The dredging to do this will produce 3 million cubic metres of sediment. It will be dumped 24 kilometres away, near Bowen, but still in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Profit wins over the environment. This is the logic of capitalism.

The Abbott government is also going to argue in favour of removing 74000 hectares of Tasmanian forest, including wilderness, from World Heritage listing. This would free up old growth forest for logging. Profit before the environment, again. This is the logic of capitalism.

Imagine a slightly different scenario. Tony Abbott announces mining at the War Memorial. ‘Look, I know some of you have a sentimental atatchment to the War Memorial, but it is sitting on a huge gas basin and the fracking starts tomorrow. It is worth billions.’ The Great Barrier Reef and Tasmanian wilderness are even more important than the War Memorial.

The Abbott government has refused to give $25 million to Coca-Cola to support the SPC fruit cannery at Shepparton. When Coca-Cola pulls the plug, hundreds at the factory will lose their jobs and the flow on effects may well see thousands on the dole. Profit before people. This is the logic of capitalism.

The decision reflects a wider approach to industry assistance. There won’t be any through open transfers, although the $50 billion in tax transfers or tax expenditures to the rich and business will continue, hidden from sight. Support for what is left of the car industry – Toyota from 2017 – is next in line for the chop. In an interim report the Productivity Commission has recommended ending car industry support by 2020. The government will use this to destroy the industry and the jobs tens of thousands of jobs dependent on it.

All that machinery and plant could be used to make public transport – buses, trains and trams – and solar panels and wind turbines as part of a move to cheap transport and renewable energy, two of the best ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That would require vision and money (tax the rich anyone?). It won’t happen. Profit before people. This is the logic of capitalism.

Alternatively, workers at the plants could occupy them and re-tool them to make these socially useful products. That will not happen because most workers’ consciousness, formed in part by 30 years of class collaboration by the union leadership, and the increasing strength of the ruling class and its neoliberal ideas as a consequence, is at a very low level.

The weakness of the union movement – membership and strikes are both at historically low levels – explains why Abbott is going on the attack against them, with talk of a Royal Commission into union ‘corruption.’

One of the best ways to keep union officials on the straight and narrow is to have a strong rank and file controlling the bureaucrats. The Accord destroyed rank and file union organisation and concentrated more and more power in the hands of the bureaucrats.

So why does Abbott want to launch an attack on unions? Some of them, such as building unions, still try to defend workers, their jobs, wages and safety. So they will be a particular focus of any attack.

Hence the government’s desire to renew the Australian Building and Construction Commission. That body criminalises industrial action and would avoid any wider enquiry which may bring to light the links between some building bosses and ‘criminal elements’.

But if it eventuates, the wider enquiry into union ‘corruption’ is about destroying the union movement or making it so weak that there will be no resistance from unions and workers to vicious attacks on jobs, wages, conditions and safety. This is the Abbott government pre-empting the coming decline in the Australian economy and pushing the crisis on to workers and restoring declining profit rates.

A return to class struggle by workers would turn all of this on its head and might drive the rabids back into their caves.

Coal is a real problem, Mr Irrationality

This is a government of rational irrationality, of profit before logic. This photo captures it. There will be no enquiry into the harmful effects of coal because it is an integral part of the capitalist system. Wind farms aren’t, but some people mistakenly believe the turbines are harmful. An enquiry into climate change might be appropriate too but any serious enquiry would have to challenge the logic of capitalism. That is why it will not happen.

The Abbott government has also launched an attack on the ABC, and the end result will be less funding and a more compliant public broadcaster.The disgrace that is the Australian ruling class’s criminalisation and demonisation of asylum seekers continues apace, and the rhetoric and actions will only get worse as the economy worsens. The government will try to divert working class attention away from unemployment, mass sackings, wage cuts, speed ups, longer unpaid hours etc etc.

In Western Australia the state Liberal government is culling sharks after 2 deadly attacks. Tens of thousands have demonstrated in Perth and elsewhere in Australia against the cull. The people who want to cull the sharks are the same sort of people who are turning back asylum seekers.

Maybe the time has come to organise freedom flotillas in which Australian citizens use their Australian ships and boats to bring asylum seekers from Indonesia to Australia and disperse them into protection networks in Australia.

The Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse continues to expose various church based organisations as laws unto themselves able to abuse chilodren physically , emotionally and sexually and hide these crimes for decades.

In Thailand the educated middle class in Bangkok are trying to destroy democracy because it threatens their class interests. Without a strong revolutionary current to follow, the middle class can swing to anti-democratic thought and action.

In memory of Pete Seeger.

This song was performed at the “We Are One” Presidential Inaugural Concert, January 19, 2009.

The song was written by Woodie Guthrie in 1940, first recorded by him in 1944 at Folkway Records, but not released until 1951.

Here is the link.

And here are the words of all the verses of this most revolutionary of songs.

This land is your land This land is my land From California to the New York island; From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters This land was made for you and Me.

As I was walking that ribbon of highway, I saw above me that endless skyway: I saw below me that golden valley: This land was made for you and me.

I’ve roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts; And all around me a voice was sounding: This land was made for you and me.

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling, And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling, As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting: This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking I saw a sign there And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.” But on the other side it didn’t say nothing, That side was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people, By the relief office I seen my people; As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me, As I go walking that freedom highway; Nobody living can ever make me turn back This land was made for you and me.

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




Comment from Chris Warren
Time February 1, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Poor ‘ol capitalism. It doesn’t know whether it should print money, or taper down.

As our financial lobbyists clap and cheer as various stock indexes regain previous losses, they forget that these indexes are nominal indexes and will ratchet-up nominally even if unemployment rises, wages fall, and real GDP collapses.

The key point is that the nominal increase in stocks (and assets) has not been matched by nominal rises in wages.


This printing money is reflected in a huge disparity between the nominal amounts (100’s of trillions) and the real assets (mere trillions). This gap is steadily worsening.


Little wonder then when the Germans asked for a return of all their physical gold stocks – the supposed base of their currency. They soon found out their gold had disappeared into thin air, and all they had, in the words of one commentator was “naval fluff”.


Max Keiser has a useful take on all this:

Print? or Taper? (Keiser)

Comment from paul walter
Time February 2, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Noproblems with any of this either..sado economics. None of what they do is necessary, but as you say, there is allthat money and also the enjoyment of making other people miserable.

Comment from Ross
Time February 3, 2014 at 6:58 am

Chris Warren ,this will be the year of the biggest financial collapse .They cannot print money forever.

Some people think that the German gold which they cannot even see, has been melted down, re-stamped and sold off.
Dr Paul Craig Roberts is the ex-assistant secretary to the US Treasury. Learn how the gold price is being manipulated.

Comment from peter piper
Time February 3, 2014 at 7:14 am

are you socialists actually saying you want $25M of taxpayers money to go to CocaCola – whose profits were in the hundreds of millions last year?
Please explain

Comment from John
Time February 3, 2014 at 8:14 am

Read the article.

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