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John Passant

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May 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)



Occupy our Universities?

Students mobilise against the Budget

The magnificent student demonstrations last week have forced the government to talk about some minor changes to their cut-price and cut-throat University plans. It was the tens of thousands of students who vented their anger who won this first step towards a back-down.

We need more pressure to force a real retreat and to show that you can beat back the government. The students have become the beacon of hope for millions of Australians. We overwhelmingly support them.

A victory for the students could be the spark that ignites the other angry sectors of society to mobilise against Abbott and Hockey, in particular workers. The struggle by students, if it radicalises, could itself be the push the rest of society needs to join the fight against this inequitable Budget.

So what could the next steps for students be? Obviously mobilising more students against the Budget in bigger and bigger demonstrations is one important action.

Mass civil disobedience that makes it clear it is no longer business as usual for the ruling class and their neoliberal parties must also be on the agenda. Imagine thousands of students blocking the main thoroughfares of Sydney and Melbourne.

The Occupy movement a few years ago in Australia showed briefly that occupations can focus the attention of workers and bosses on the issues that capitalism day to day throws up.

The student movements of the past have used occupations as a tactic to express anger and to win concessions and sometimes retreats from ruling class policies. In doing that they have made protest more generally acceptable, including working class and other struggles.

Of course an occupation of the administration building can be beaten by a university management planning ahead or by sending in the cops, or sometimes even by reformist leaders within the ranks.

Instead of thinking just about demonstrations and occupations, maybe the time has come to think about the best way for students and others to shut down our Universities until the government withdraws in full its attacks on higher education.

If there were enough students and others involved they could picket the University, stopping entry to the campus.

Most Universities have multiple entry points so this may need community and union support. A call to concerned citizens and discussions with the various unions on campus could see thousands protect a number of University from the Vandals that make up this government, and the Visigoths in the Opposition. They could draw in unionists and community activists and the parents of those under attack.

It is time for students, staff and the public to reclaim our Universities from the snake oil sales men and women of neoliberalism. Occupy our Universities. Close them down to win a new era in higher education.



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Time May 28, 2014 at 11:11 pm

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