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John Passant

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November 2015



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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)



Aboriginal oppression and capitalism


Aboriginal dispossession served capitalist interests, argues Paddy Gibson in socialist magazine Solidarity, but Aboriginal people have remained a “problem” from the point of view of Australia’s rulers ever since. Among other things Paddy says:

‘The contemporary social crises gripping many Aboriginal communities can only be seriously addressed by a fundamental shift in power relations, with Aboriginal people controlling their own community development. Resources are urgently needed in the hands of grassroots Aboriginal groups, so communities can get to work rebuilding shattered lives and lands.

‘But it is simply not within the logic of the capitalist profit system to provide the resources to meet Aboriginal needs and aspirations.’

To read whole article click here. Capitalism and Aboriginal oppression.



Comment from Lorry
Time November 13, 2015 at 5:11 pm

This is a good article but this quote I find odd:

a fighting vision—of a fundamentally different way of life here, with relations of egalitarianism and reciprocity between both people and the land.

Do you believe that John? I get confused as to where the primitive communism and noble savage myth differ.

Personally I believe in total sovereignty rights for indigenous people as fundamental and essential but I’m just not sure if the primitive communism ideal is factual?

But there (so far) have been good and bad in ALL societies throughout history, obviously some worse and some better than others…

Comment from Greg Firmstone
Time November 14, 2015 at 4:41 pm

Hi Damon

Re “primitive Aboriginal Communism” I can confirm that it’s anything but “primitive”, but rather of a much higher degree than anything the lovely Karl Marx ever envisaged. For example, there are over 600 indigenous languages and dialects in this Great Southern Land, and there is not a single word for “please” or “thank you” in any of them. I am a committed schoolteacher who in a past life was an Aboriginal Art curator for very senior Aboriginal artists (Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Gloria Petyarre, Ada Bird Petyarre, Utopia elders, Emily Kame Kngwarreye etc). I regularly invite my primary and secondary classes to please explain why Mr Firmstone (me) sees this as a sign of the subtleity and sophistication of Aboriginal cultures that they never ONCE saw a need to invent words for please or thank you in their technically advanced and complex languages. Students LOVE trying to answer this puzzle. On another tack, I am privy to some rare and sacred secret information about the MORAL AND ETHICAL ASPECTS of certain Initiation tests in teenage Aboriginal initiations which I am not at liberty to divulge. However, as an educator with over 42 yrs experience guiding teenage boys and girls, I was green with envy when I experienced first hand how AWESOME pre- contact elders were in dealing with rampant teenage sexual hormones. Punchline:

“When a girl says ‘No!’, ‘No!’ means ‘No!'”

Aboriginal elders have had arguably 60,000 – 140,000 years to refine and perfect how the men and women work together to instruct their teenage boys and girls on the appropriate modes of ethical conduct vis a vis the sexes.

Comment from John
Time November 15, 2015 at 9:58 am

Not sure why it is a problem Lorry. There was a fundamentally different way of living before the invasion. I don’t see the statement as hankering for primitive communism or noble savagery. Isn’t it just a statement of what many Aboriginal people (and others) have in their hearts today?

Comment from Lorry
Time November 15, 2015 at 11:22 am

That is certainly true about the reciprocity and the land, but I’m not so sure about the egalitarianism.
Definitely more egalitarian than the capitalist system we live under though.

Comment from Tom
Time November 15, 2015 at 3:04 pm

“There was a fundamentally different way of living before the invasion.”

It was called the stone age.

Comment from John
Time November 16, 2015 at 8:16 am

No it isn’t.

Comment from John
Time November 16, 2015 at 8:17 am

Ah OK. The egalitarianism of poverty. Yes, and maybe a hierarchical society with disputes within and between groups.

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