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John Passant

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March 2018
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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. (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)



Archive for 'Women workers'

International Women’s Day and female doctors being raped at work in Australia

Having more women as bosses will not challenge the system that gives rise to women’s oppression. It will only reinforce it. In the meantime, women workers, including junior doctors, could join unions and turn them into organisations that defend their interests. In the words of the famous song, don’t be too polite girls, don’t be too polite.


It’s Mad Men for Abbott’s government

If this is the way Abbott treats ruling class women imagine what he has in store for working class women. What Abbott’s male dominated cabinet shows is a government trapped in the past, reverting to the thinking of the 1950s. It reveals an anti-woman attitude which will translate into attacks on poor and working class women, if we and our unions let them.

Systemic sexism

Women like Gillard or Thatcher running the ship of the capitalist state make no difference to the dynamic drivers of the system – the need to extract surplus value from productive workers, women as cheap carers and raisers of the next generation of workers, and all that flows from that – the second class citizenship of women, the low wages, the systemic sexism.

What has made a difference is the organised struggles against oppression, especially militant action by unions. Julia Gillard is part of the problem. Ordinary working women are part of the solution.

Marxism, feminism and women’s liberation

So at this point in history, when feminism has been under sustained attack for the last 40 odd years with no end in sight, the last thing we should feel compelled to do is attack feminism. On the contrary, we need to defend feminism on principle, as a defense of women’s liberation and opposition to sexism. What is the definition of feminism? The advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social and economic equality to men.

So I would argue that today, our emphasis should be more in keeping with that of the theory and practice of the Bolsheviks, in which we do not attempt to minimize the degree of oppression faced by women–or any other oppressed group–inside the working class, but rather to make a serious effort on every front to combat it.

Labor’s low pay agenda for women

A militant industrial response from workers and their unions to the systemic gender pay gap has the best chance of improving the lives of women at work. That is a fight that must of necessity take on the ALP for whom the bosses and their profits are more important than equal pay. The first step in that process must be for workers in low paid and traditional gender stereotype industries to organise to smash the glass ceiling of low and unequal wages.

Women’s liberation and socialism

WHILE ALL women may suffer the effects of oppression under capitalism, though to varying extents, the working class, made up of men and women, is the only force capable of winning an end to that oppression. The working class has the power to bring capitalist production to a halt, upend the old society and build a new one with all workers’ interests at its heart.

During that process, workers shed backward ideas that divide and cripple them, like sexism. But struggle alone doesn’t guarantee women’s liberation. Struggles can ebb and flow. A totally different society has to be fought for, one where the material conditions for a world free of oppression can flourish.

This means locating the roots of women’s oppression. A key is the family, an institution that depends largely on women’s unpaid labor in order to survive, and that allows capitalism to get for free what a saner system would have to provide.

In a society based on profit, where every penny is squeezed from the working class, the nuclear family makes complete sense, even though it creates a double burden on women that includes unpaid labor in the home. But under socialism, a society in which the priority is providing for human need, the privatized family makes no sense at all.

Is it a woman’s world now?

Real discrimination and real sexism are a part of day-to-day life, and their roots lie not in any fundamental differences between men and women, but in the structure of our society. It isn’t a coincidence of biology that women are unequal to men. It’s part of the fabric of a capitalist society, where workers are pitted against one another in a multitude of ways. Gender is one of those ways, and that’s what keeps women in a subservient role.

It’s time for unions to move against Alan Jones

Unions NSW could immediately ban all work and supplies to 2GB until Jones is sacked. It could ban all goods and services to all of Jones’s advertisers until they abandon 2GB. Individual unions could do the same. Workers at 2GB could walk off the job until Jones is sacked. Such actions would of course be illegal under Labor’s industrial laws. But it would be the right thing to do.

Women and revolution

The Arab world has put revolution firmly on the agenda for the twenty-first century. And so women’s liberation is posed as a real possibility. This is a marvellous time to be a revolutionary.

Sexism or scrutiny?

Comments about Gillard’s hair or her dress sense or lack of affability can’t be divorced from the wider oppression of women in society. They reinforce stereotypes about women as having a role that must fit within the dominant power structure of capitalism – as objects of men’s desire and displaying ‘feminine’ characteristics.

However Bob Brown was being too cute by half in blaming criticism of Gillard on sexism. After all this is the do nothing Government he supports and sustains so attacks on Labor are also a criticism of him and his do nothing Greens.

You cannot hide behind sexism to divert attention away from the failure of Labor to inspire its base. That is part of the problem – Labor’s neoliberalism.

A resurgence in struggle, in fighting for equal pay now, free abortion on demand, free childcare, would challenge the very structures of capitalist oppression. Therein lies the way forward, not tired bleating about sexist reporting that ignores the systemic oppression of women under capitalism.