John Passant

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Me quoted in Fairfax papers on tax haven use
Me quoted by Georgia Wilkins in The Age (and other Fairfax publications) today. John Passant, from the school of political science and international relations, at the Australian National University, said the trend noted by Computershare was further evidence multinationals did not take global regulators seriously. ”US companies are doing this on the hard-nosed basis that any [regulatory] changes that will be made won’t have an impact on their ability to avoid tax,” he said. ”They think it is going to take a long time for the G20 to take action, or that they are just all talk.” (1)

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

Real debate?

System change, not climate change



Malcolm X’s revolutionary life

In the first part of a Socialist Worker US feature on the revolutionary politics and enduring relevance of Malcolm X, Lee Sustar introduces the life of one of the 20th century’s most important revolutionaries, starting with the world of racism and injustice that shaped him.

Malcolm X speaking to a crowd in Harlem

 IF YOU want to know why mainstream Black History Month celebrations still pass uneasily over the legacy of Malcolm X a half-century after his assassination, take a moment to reflect on the Ferguson, Mo. uprising and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Then read these words from Malcolm, spoken at a 1964 debate at the Oxford Union in Britain:

No matter how many [civil rights] bills pass, Black people in that country, where I’m from, still our lives are not worth two cents…

So my contention is, we are faced with a racialistic society, a society in which they are deceitful, deceptive, and the only way we can bring about a change is speak the language that they understand. The racialists never understand a peaceful language, the racialists never understand the nonviolent language, the racialist has spoken his type of language to us for over 400 years. We have been the victim of his brutality; we are the ones who face his dogs, who tear the flesh from our limbs, only because we want to enforce the Supreme Court decision [of 1954 ending segregation in schools]. We are the ones who have our skulls crushed, not by the Ku Klux Klan, but by policemen, all because we want to enforce what they call the Supreme Court decision…

Well, any time you live in a society…and it doesn’t enforce it’s own laws, because the color of a man’s skin happens to be wrong, then I say those people are justified to resort to any means necessary to bring about justice where the government can’t give them justice.

Such statements alarmed the Democratic liberal establishment that was already worried about the increasing radicalization around the civil rights movement. So two months later, when Malcolm was gunned down at a February 21, 1965, at meeting in Harlem, the New York Times editorial board all but cheered:

Malcolm X had the ingredients for leadership, but his ruthless and fanatical belief in violence not only set him apart from the responsible leaders of the civil rights movement and the overwhelming majority of Blacks, it also marked him for notoriety and a violent end…Yesterday someone came out of the darkness that he spawned and killed him.

Yet even in death, Malcolm’s influence continued to grow. When The Autobiography of Malcolm X was published a few months after his death, it became essential reading for a generation of African American students and young workers. Malcolm’s willingness to speak the ugly truth about the horror and violence of racism in the U.S. had tremendous appeal at a moment when, despite the victory of the Southern civil rights movement, racism still festered in every corner of the country.

The closing chapters of the Autobiography described Malcolm’s turn to politics and his search for a strategy to take the movement forward as it entered a new phase. After breaking with the Black separatist Nation of Islam in early 1964, Malcolm had embraced orthodox Sunni Islam and formed his own political organization.

He continued to call for both self-defense from racist attack and Black self-determination–an approach that went beyond the nonviolent tactics and integrationist perspective of Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders. Even so, in the months before he was killed, Malcolm began to reach out to the left and even civil rights leaders that he had previously scorned, making an appearance in Selma, Ala., in a show of support for King, who had been jailed during the protests that culminated in the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

Then, suddenly, Malcolm was gone–cut down before he could develop his ideas about the struggle for Black liberation and develop a program to achieve it. The wealthy and powerful were relieved. As Phil Ochs put it in his satirical song, “Love Me, I’m a Liberal:”

I cried when they shot Medgar Evers
Tears ran down my spine
I cried when they shot Mr. Kennedy
As though I’d lost a father of mine
But Malcolm X got what was coming
He got what he asked for this time
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

IN THE half-century since his assassination, Malcolm’s legacy has slowly been deradicalized by politicians and Corporate America. Even the U.S. Postal Service issued a postage stamp bearing his image in 1999.

Certainly Malcolm is deserving of recognition. But despite some rare and welcome exceptions, such as Spike Lee’s 1992 movie Malcolm X, the prevailing treatment of Malcolm today recalls the Russian revolutionary Lenin’s comment about how revolutionary leaders, after their death, are reduced to “harmless icons” for the “consolation of the oppressed classes.”

The defense of Malcolm’s legacy has been left to a relatively small network of those who followed or were inspired by him. “It seems odd that very little attention is being devoted to the anniversary dates of the life and legacy of such an extraordinary leader,” Ron Daniels, the veteran militant Black activist, wrote recently. Daniels, who helped to organize a big commemoration of Malcolm in 1990, lamented the lack of a similar effort today: “It is as if Black America is gripped by a case of historical amnesia.”

Yet even among those who are determined to remember Malcolm and demonstrate his ongoing relevance, there are ongoing debates about just what his legacy means.

Was he a Black nationalist, even though he ultimately stopped describing himself in those terms in the final months of his life? Was he moving towards socialist conclusions, as some of his collaborators on the left have argued? Or would Malcolm have joined many of his contemporary African American activists in electoral politics and the Democratic Party, as suggested in the exhaustively researched biography written by the late Manning Marable?

This article will make no such definitive claims. It will, however, maintain that Malcolm stands squarely in the Black–and U.S.–revolutionary tradition.

Fifty years after his death–with an African American in the White House and thousands of Black elected officials and celebrities–Malcolm’s injunction to militant self-defense against racist attack and his call for self-determination and Black liberation remain central to the politics of our time. Although he was killed before he could fully formulate his new perspective to achieve Black liberation, it is clear that the challenges Malcolm laid out can only be answered with a revolutionary transformation of U.S. society.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

WHEN MALCOLM gave his trademark searing denunciations of racist violence, he was drawing upon personal experience with such horrors. Born Malcolm Little in 1925, in a period marked by a resurgence of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan, Malcolm’s earliest memories were shaped by racist violence and the struggle against it.

Manning Marable describes how his parents, Earl and Louise, were devoted followers of the Black nationalist Marcus Garvey, and Earl moved around the country to help build Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association. In Omaha, Neb., Earl, who worked as a carpenter and did odd jobs, ran head on into the Klan, which played a major role in both the Democratic and Republican parties and regularly held parades and picnics. The Klan came for Earl one night when he wasn’t home. After Louise stood them down, they broke every window in the home to make their point.

The Little family later moved to Lansing, Mich., where a violent Klan offshoot, the Black Legion, held cross-burnings in the night. Soon, the family was facing eviction from their home because of a local law banning African Americans from purchasing land in the area. While Earl fought back in court, their home was burned down, almost certainly by white racists incensed by Earl and Louise’s activism in the UNIA. Two years later, Earl was dead, supposedly from an accidental fall in front of a streetcar, although strong circumstantial evidence pointed to the involvement of racists who may have beaten Earl before pushing him onto the tracks.

Following Earl’s death, Louise Little fell into poverty. She was soon unable to care for Malcolm and his seven siblings. Malcolm was sent to a foster home, and then sent away to school. He was told by a teacher that his goal to become a lawyer was “no realistic goal for a nigger.” He dropped out of school and in 1941 moved to live with his half-sister Ella, a child from his father Earl’s previous marriage.

Ella had regular run-ins with the law, and introduced Malcolm to hustling and petty crime. As Malcolm recounts in his Autobiography, he became a fixture at Boston’s Roseland Ballroom, where he shined shoes for famous jazz musicians and the stars of the local nightlife scene amid the economic boom stimulated by he Second World War. He embraced the Black youth counterculture signified by zoot suits, a flashy style of dress deemed inappropriate by racist authorities, who thought such behavior unpatriotic during wartime.

Malcolm worked a series of low-wage jobs, eventually securing employment as a food vendor on railroads on the Northeast corridor, which allowed him to visit Washington, D.C., and New York City. He then got work on cross-country routes, enabling him to see the country. While living in wartime Harlem, he was exposed to the intellectual, cultural and political capital of Black America. As he later recalled, he also ran into Communist Party members selling their newspaper and campaigning for rent control and other issues.

He was in Harlem during the 1943 riot that followed a police officer’s shooting of a African American serviceman. Perhaps reflecting the mood of young African Americans cynical about the U.S. claims to be fighting for freedom in Europe and Asia while maintaining Jim Crow segregation at home, Malcolm talked his way out of being drafted by telling an Army psychiatrist that he wanted to get the guns of the military to kill whites.

At the same time, he turned to drug dealing and other petty crime. While Marable argues that Malcolm later exaggerated his criminal activity in order to enhance his credibility on the street, Malcolm’s hustles were enough to run him afoul of the law. Along with his friend Shorty and several others, he was convicted on charges of burglary in the Boston area and sent away to Massachusetts’ Charlestown prison, a hellhole dating from the early 19th century.

It was in prison that he met John Elton Bembry–“Bimbi” in the Autobiography–whose impressive intellect convinced Malcolm to undertake a program of self-education. Later, after being transferred to another, more liberal prison aimed at rehabilitation, Malcolm was able to make use of better prison resources to pursue his path of self-development. At the same time, his siblings drew him towards the religious organization they had joined–the Lost-Found Nation of Islam (NOI).

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THE NOI’s call for Black separatism offered something familiar to the Little family, which had been steeped in Marcus Garvey’s version of Black nationalism. NOI leader Elijah Muhammad, himself a former Garveyite, called for African Americans to develop their own autonomous society within the U.S., with their own businesses and institutions.

What Muhammad added was a theology that he’d adapted from a W.D. Fard in the early 1930s. Fard claimed that Blacks had once ruled the earth until an evil Black scientist had created whites–devils–who eventually took control of the planet. African Americans, in fact, were Asiatic Blacks, according to Fard, members of the lost tribe of Shabazz that had been kidnapped from Mecca nearly 400 years earlier. Fard, under pressure from authorities, disappeared in 1934. Elijah, who considered Fard to be Allah, took over the NOI.

After serving a prison sentence for draft evasion, Elijah Muhammad oriented the NOI on prisoners, drug addicts and the poor–people neglected by both the political system and the Black middle class. During his more than six years in prison, Malcolm was won over to the NOI by his family. He converted several other prisoners and organized alongside them for the right to practice their religion.

In the Autobiography, Malcolm recalled the bracing impact of the NOI’s worldview:

Human history’s greatest crime was the traffic in Black flesh when the devil white man went into African and murdered and kidnapped to bring to the West in slave ships, millions of Black men, women and children, who were worked and beaten and tortured as slaves.

The devil white man cut these Black people off from all knowledge of their own kind, and cut them off from any knowledge of their own language, religion and past culture, until the Black man in America was the earth’s only race of people who had absolutely no knowledge of his true identity.

Meanwhile, Malcolm continued to read prodigiously, plunging through Western philosophy, African American history and the struggle against colonialism and imperialism. “Book after book showed me how the white man had brought upon the world’s Black, brown, red and yellow people every variety of the sufferings of exploitation,” as he put it in the Autobiography.

By the time of Malcolm’s release from prison in 1952, he was prepared to build the NOI. Moving to Detroit, where the organization was headquartered, Malcolm encountered a small but vibrant organization that was systematically working to recruit from among the millions of African American working people who’d been drawn into Northern cities to take jobs in industries spurred by the wartime boom. Like many other NOI members, Malcolm abandoned his surname of Little as a legacy of slavery–and adopted X instead.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THE NOI’s message of Black pride, separatism and self-defense found a ready audience in urban America. Although formal segregation laws did not exist in the North, Black workers nevertheless lived in segregated neighborhoods in declining central cities. The end of the Korean War hastened the deindustrialization of Northern cities. Throughout the 1950s–a time of general economic expansion–less than half the Black working class held full-time jobs year round. By 1960, the differential between Black and white unemployment had reached two to one, where it remains to this day.

In such conditions, the NOI–known popularly as the Black Muslims–flourished. With the destruction of the left during the anticommunist witch hunts of the 1950s, there was a dearth of anti-racist political organization. The Communist Party members who Malcolm regularly saw on the streets of Harlem in the 1940s were gone a decade later. Union leaders who had collaborated in the purge of “reds” from their ranks either shied away from any serious anti-racist struggles or openly opposed them. The Democratic political machines that ran most Northern cities had grudgingly made a place for a tiny number of Black elected officials, but these patronage-based networks were unable or unwilling to confront racist politicians or employers.

The NAACP, which had swung to the left under pressure in previous decades, became far more conservative, embracing the anticommunism of the Cold War and cautiously seeking a niche for the small African American middle class. Of course, the civil rights movement erupted onto this scene in the late 1950s, but because it was oriented on ending legal Jim Crow segregation in the South, it had relatively little to say to Black working people in the North.

What had begun in Detroit as a religious sect in the early 1930s grew into a movement of an estimated 100,000 members by 1961. According to historian Jack Bloom:

The bulk were laborers or unemployed. They were less directly concerned with the issue of segregation that confronted Blacks in the South except and so far as they identified with their kinsmen. But the treatment Blacks received in the South, and their own concerns, angered these ghetto Blacks. It was their anger that Malcolm X both articulated and encouraged.

Joining the NOI meant embracing a strict moral code: no tobacco, no alcohol, no sex other than between a married man and woman. The Nigerian-born academic E.U. Essien-Udom interviewed scores of NOI members in Chicago for his 1962 book Black Nationalism: A Search for Identity in America. Many told him that they had cut themselves off from family and friends outside the organization. “I look upon them with pity,” a woman identified as Sister Nellie told the author. “When you accept Islam you stop drinking, smoking and committing indecent acts you used to do with them. They think that it is odd, and they think that you are insane.”

According to Black sociologist C. Eric Lincoln’s 1961 book on the organization, NOI members were disproportionately young and male, with older members typically having been involved in the Garvey movement or other Black-oriented Muslim groups. The great majority were workers–in factories or domestic service–with a scattering of intellectuals and college students among them. As Lincoln wrote:

The Muslim leaders tend to live and build their temples and businesses in the areas from which they draw their major support–in the heart of the Black Ghetto. This ghetto houses the most dissident and disinherited, the people who wake up to society’s kick in the teeth each morning and fall exhausted with a parting kick each night. These are the people who are ready for revolution–any kind of revolution–and Muhammad astutely builds his temples in their midst.

Ultimately, however, Elijah Muhammad was opposed to taking practical steps to achieve that transformation–even as his main disciple, Malcolm, gravitated to the politics of revolution.

The next part in this series on “The Life and Legacy of Malcolm X” will appear next week.

Vote 1 George and Mildred


Sick and tired of comedians running the country? The vote 1 George and Mildred.

Fifty years after the Freedom Ride


Solidarity has a good article on the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Ride through New South Wales. As they say:

By commanding front-page publicity, the Freedom Ride put Aboriginal rights squarely on the national agenda. The oppression of Aboriginal people could no longer be swept under the carpet.

However, as they also point out:

While formal discrimination was largely abolished in the 1970s, it was shamefully re-introduced with the Northern Territory Intervention in 2007. Across the country the social position of Aboriginal people remains dire. Most of the problems observed by the Freedom Riders, shamefully, persist 50 years on—inadequate housing, water and medical services, police harassment and child removal.

To read the whole article click here.

Asylum seeker Wei Lin’s account of the Australian government’s failed attempt to deport him back to China

On 19 December last year the Government tried to deport asylum seeker Wei Lin from Australia back to China on an Air China flight. After Wei Lin protested on board, some passengers refused to cooperate when they found out what was happening and Wei Lin was saved from being sent back. His future is very uncertain. Green Left’s story explains the background and how activists and Wei Lin together with a number of passengers prevented his deportation.

Why is he seeking asylum? As Simon Santow from ABC radio program AM put it: Advocates say Wei Lin had been harassed in China because of his knowledge of the use of performance-enhancing drugs in Chinese sport. One of the brave passengers’ reports can be found here.

This is Wei Lin’s harrowing story in his own words.


The Whole Event of Deportation of Me on 19/12/2014

I have already come back to Villawood (in Blaxland now) from the airport.

I was rushed to the airport straight away from the Federal court after hearing.

the Serco took away my mobile before transformed me to the court& told me i could make phone calls to my friends after arrived at  airport.

The van was droved into the security section (probably at the back of  the airport) at about 5.15pm, & directly to a door behind which there  was a separate unit constituting 2 rooms. 1 of them with camera& television was to locked me up while the other for the Serco staff who  monitored me through camera. i asked to make phone call at this stage but was refused by the staff of Serco that i could not call my friends until i was escorted to the boarding gate.

Activists handing out leaflets to passengers. Photo: Green Left Weekly


The 4 guards from Serco, Craig, Matthew, Andrea (female) & Muhammad locked me in that room. after my property was brought into the unit from Villawood about 6.30pm, they stepped into the room i was in& told me that “because i have threatened to spit & bite the security  guards, they decided to not only handcuff me but also put a mask on my  face”.

I got shocked because I have never said that. I questioned them who had make up these words. they said they had recorded it when I said that & they heard what i said from listening device. I challenged  them if I really said those words & had been tapped, please play the recording in front of me for proving. then, Craig (about 50 years old,  male, overweight) said that they did not tape it but “recorded it” into writing by my case officer Irene. again, I challenged them that please show me what Irene had wrote down, & I would make a formal  statement to police at the police station for Irene’s wrongful accusation & perjury. I wrote down their names & ID numbers one by one onto paper which was taken away later.

then, they swiftly changed  their story again that they did not have the writing record, & the  requirement for handcuffing & masking was imposed by the airline. I  told them they were talking lies, & it was against the International  Law by shifting their lies to the airline for inflicting the inhumane  treatment on me by way of handcuffing & masking. To comfort me, they said i could take off the handcuff & mask in the aeroplane if the  aeroplane agreed, & i could also make phone calls at the boarding gate if i co-operated with them.

I cooperated with them again by being handcuffed & masked (although  they refused my plea to make the handcuff looser on my wrists so that i did not have to suffer more pain) & was taken to boarding gate with handcuff & mask on. but, when i asked to make phone calls there, i was  refused once again that i could not do it until i boarded onto the  aeroplane which would be subject to the permission of airline.

I cooperated with them again.

When i was put into the middle seat at the last line in the aeroplane, they seatbelted me tightly without leaving space for me to adjust my   position although i continuously pleaded to Muhammad & Andrea (the 2 staff from Serco who would escort me to the Beijing Airport). the 2 ordered me to keep my mask on face all the time & could not be removed  without their permission.

I was squeezed into my seat with Muhammad on my right side & Andrea on left.

When about 80% passengers were on board, I asked to go to toilet.  Muhammad & Andrea stood up, followed me & waited for me outside the toilet.

When I used the toilet & walked back towards my seat (Muhammad& Andrea were behind me), I suddenly thought that this might be my last chance in the life to let the public know what the Immigration Department& the Serco had done to me individually & to all detainees/asylum seekers  in general.

There were 3 Chinese air marshals on the 19/12/2014 flight CA174 (Air China), which was told by my case officer Irene before deportation & the 4 escorts at the airport.

I started to rushed to the front from the back part of the aeroplane in order to facing all passengers aboard. However, when I was on the way of rushing to the very front, one of the Chinese air martial (in plain cloths) was trying to constrain me by reaching his two hands towards my body but unsuccessful.

When I reached to the exit of the plane (located in the very front of the plane), there was another Chinese man (in plain clothes too). When I turned around for facing passengers in the cabin and started to say that “I was a political asylum seeker, would face persecution back to China…(in Chinese), that Chinese man pushed me hardly from behind by using his two hands, and said to me in the effect that “you need to pay for what you have done after you arrive at China” (in Chinese).

By this time, Muhammad had rushed to my side. When I was forcefully pushed from behind by Muhammad on the way back to my seat, I articulated in English that “I am a political asylum seeker, the Australian Immigration Department forced me to come the airport& board on the aeroplane against my will, this was what the department has done on me when i lifted my hands to show the handcuff, pointed the mask on my face, the Australian Department does not respect human rights……” some passengers got shocked when they saw the handcuff on my wrists.

When i was put back into my seat, Andrea was swearing that “you  F…king shut up. You F…king put mask on” while Muhammad was pushing me from my behind by using excessive force although i did not do any
resistance. this was happened about from 9.10 to 9.15pm.

After I sit back into my seat, Andrea ridiculed me that “where do you  think you can go?” I told both Muhammad & Andrea on my each side that I was not going to run out of the aeroplane but only for 1 thing – to make more people know the truth, know what had been happening on asylum seekers, know what the immigration department & the Serco have done.”

At about 9.30pm, the captain announced through microphone that the air plane was safe & was heading to runway after being filled with petrol.

I was waiting the moment of take-off.

There was about 20 minutes, the longest 20-minutes in my life…..

Around 9.50pm, the captain suddenly stated that “because of some  passengers’ problem having not been resolved, the air plane will go back to station point.” it was then followed by a female voice that she”
was the representative of the Immigration department, the person she  refereed to will be taken off this air plane.”

When i stood up & walked from back towards the gate of the air plane, i repeated what i said in the 1st occasion as well thanked those passengers by saying that “you are the best.” some passengers, Chinese & Australians, clapped while using their mobiles to photograph me. (those Chinese will expose my photos in Chinese media or spread it among friends when they arrived at China, although they may not intentionally to do any harm on me. but the Chinese government will know what i have done & said in the air plane then.)

When all three of us were about to step out of the exit, a third Chinese man, who was neither one of the crew members nor of the flight members because his uniform was different from them – unlike crew members were in white shirt and black trousers, this man was in blue shirt and black trousers – tried to prevent me getting off the plane. He came to block the gate of the plane by standing in front of me and in the middle of the exit. He angrily shouted to me “stop”, then turned to Muhammad & asked him that “what can I do for you?” Muhammad who was grabbing my right arm on my right side frustratedly said in the effect that we had to get off the plane.

Then, this Chinese man in special uniform reluctantly moved his body to one side of the exit while starring at me angrily. Even after both the captain and the representative of the immigration department’s announcement that I had to get off the plane, that Chinese official was still desperately making the last attempt to keep me in the plane and send me back to China. He might be a special official particularity tasked to coordinate the process of deportation with the Serco and the Australian Immigration Department.

By the time I got off the air plane, it was about 10pm, & I, still in handcuff, was taken by the angry Serco staff back to the unit where I was in hours ago.

Matthew, (26 years old) stepped into the room where i was locked& told me that the Immigration Department & AFP would come to interview me so I need to wait.

I was exhausted & lied down on the bench of the detaining room.

When i was there, i heard Craig (the oldest escort among the 4 was sitting with his back towards the window between the 2 rooms) starting to talk with the rest three in another room that “he will make statement against us….you just say…..(Andrea then replied something)…..he double crossed the line….F…k-off the protest…..Blaxland….no PC, no phone call… time….seatbelt tightly… a period of more than 1 & half hour. As the television in the room was on plus the door between the 2 rooms were closed, I could not hear the part “………”. they were conspiring. they were trying to fabricate story to get rid of their liability while demonising me. (I need a criminal lawyer, I need to institute proceedings against the immigration department & the Serco not only for their criminal conduct, but also for my suffering physically & psychologically.)

They started to eat food (I saw Craig started to eat instant noodles & Muhammad was chewing something in his mouth) after they finished their  conspiracy.

Around 12am, (the Immigration Department & the AFP did not turn up), I was escorted outside of the unit & put into a car – Muhammad drove, Andrea at his left side, Craig & Matthew were at my each side in the
back seat. I was still being handcuffed although I had requested to take it off.

When the car arrived at Villawood & I was in the property reception, it was about 1am. I was interviewed by an India background staff that whether or not i had a suicide thought, I said no. he asked me whether or not I need to see a nurse for my wrists because he saw there were marks, I refused because i was just too tired.

Now I’m detained in Blaxland for the wrong-doing & crime committed by the Immigration Department & the Serco. I heard that Blaxland exclusively detains some former prisoners.

This is the democracy, respect of human rights….claimed by some politicians in Australia.

If it is necessary, i hope there will be a Royal Inquiry for what has happened on me.

i want to go to the International Criminal Court for what the Immigration Department & Serco have done to me.

The Serco had withheld my mobile. i don’t know when I can get it back. i would like to change another number & mobile because the Serco may have already checked my contacts stored in the mobile.

I’m pretty sure that the immigration department & Serco have already started to hatch another plan exclusively for deporting me, & next time they will use more force & brutal methods to constrain me. we will see.

Since publishing this Wei Lin has advised me that the impression the Immigration Department  has given him is that he will be deported in a few days. He has also written:

As I said, the Immigration Department will deport me soon. I may be the first one in the year one or two that the department had failed on their forceful deportation. Following the failure of my deportation, there were another two failure of deportation ensuing, one happened three days after my case & another happened just last month. The department has lost face in the media because of these issues & been facing the pressure from the public that substantial cost funded by tax payer is incurred (I was being escorted by two escorts from Serco bound to fly to China; there were five escorts bound to fly to Africa during their failure of deportation happened three days after my case; two escorts were engaged in the deportation failed last month.) All the cost of air tickets, the arrangements of transportation, escorts’ accommodation in a foreign country….have been calculated by the department to justify their determination of deporting me as an example of their effective policy against asylum seekers.

they will use more brutal & inhuman method to deport me this time.

Outsourcing asylum seeker deaths at sea

This is from Julian Burnside, prominent refugee advocate and human rights lawyer rebutting the Liberal lies about lives saved at sea because of the brutalisation of refugees on Manus Island and Nauru.


Vale Faith Bandler

Great Aboriginal rights activist Faith Bandler has died.


Here are two snippets from a farewell in Red Flag by Cathy Lewis.

Faith Bandler was a member of the Communist Party, the Union of Australian Women, the Aborigines Progressive Association, the Australian Aborigines League and co-founder of the Australian Aboriginal Fellowship. Her activism in the immediate post-war years coincided with a generalised upsurge in working class activity.


The final word belongs to Faith: “I’m a great believer in the power of people and I think, you know I’m a street woman, I believe we should make good use of our streets. They are not just there for motorcars, they’re there for us to get out and express our feelings of how we feel, particularly about war, about peace, the manufacturing of arms, the banning of the manufacturing of arms and so on. And so my faith is in people and I can’t say anything else other than that. It always has been and it always will be.”

Vale Faith Bandler.

To read the whole article click here.

If Greece can close down its refugee detention centres why can’t Australia?

SYRIZA, the new radical left wing government in Greece ‘pledged on Saturday to close down detention centres for [refugees] that have long been criticised by rights groups as inhumane.’

A Pakistani man had died overnight at the Amygdaleza detention centre in western Athens in a suspected suicide.

“Detention centres – we’re finished with them,” Deputy Interior Minister Yannis Panousis, who is in charge of public order and civil protection, told reporters on Saturday when he visited the centre.

If Greece can do it, why not Australia? Ah, unlike Greece, we don’t have a radical left wing party here, built on strikes and demonstrations against austerity. Maybe it is time we built one and built strikes and demonstrations against Abbott’s austerity?

Joe Hockey really truly will crack down on tax avoidance, and pigs might fly

Joe Hockey, Australia’s most hated Treasurer (and that’s just within the Liberal party room) , is committed to cracking down on tax avoidance.

So much so that he decided a few weeks ago not to proceed with former Labor government proposals to stop big business claiming legitimate interest deductions against exempt income. It would be too hard to do.

That was Hockey’s excuse, after he took advice from the very people who would be caught by the changes or their advisers. Yep, Joe Hockey really and truly is committed to cracking down on tax avoidance.

The next time the Treasurer tells you he has to cut pensions, aboriginal services, women’s refuges, health or education funding, ask him why he doesn’t shut down the section 25-90 rort and use the $600 million a year on something socially useful. That is just one scheme or rort he could close down. What about it Mr Hockey?

This of course is the same Mr Hockey happy to see Chris Jordan, the former NSW manager of major tax avoidance ‘planning’ firm, KPMG, and current Commissioner of Taxation, destroy the Australian Tax Office and its already meagre capacity to police the rich and powerful tax avoiders and evaders. Regulatory capture is the word I think we are searching for here, Mr Hockey.

‘Weak’ one of good government in Australia

Week one (or should that be weak one?) of good government in Australia has gone well hasn’t it? After his near death experience in the party room meeting last Monday when 39 of his own colleagues out of 100 voted for none of the above in a leadership ballot – ah OK, it was a spill motion to declare Abbott’s position as Prime Minister vacant – it has been all up, up and away for the good government that Abbott then promised.

First, Truthful Tony lied to one of his South Australian senators and promised that the Australian Submarine Corporation in Adelaide would be part of the competitive tender process for building 12 submarines, worth at least $20 bn.  After he secured the good gullible Senator’s vote we find out he meant a competitive analysis, not tender.  It seems pretty likely that the Abbott government have already given the nod to a Japense group to build the subs.

Terrible Tony got hot under the collar when the Human Rights Commission issued a report with FACTS about the ill treatment of asylum seeker children in detention. (Detention is ill treatment itself). Commissioner Triggs condemned both Labor and the Liberals and called for a Royal Commission into children in detention.

Tony the Turd called the Report blatantly partisan and said the HRC, apart from acting disgracefully, should be thanking Scott Morrison for his actions. Would that be for the two dead in detention under his control? Or for the kids in detention in Indonesia and Malaysia with nowhere to go? Or just those still in our concentration camps here in Australia and on Manus Island and Nauru?

Tony the Terrifying also sacked Chief Government whip Philip Ruddock (cryonic Phil to his friend) for not letting him know most of his backbench would vote for a dead donkey rather than have the leader actually lead them or whatever it is that Abbott does.

Tony the Treasured released a report on bridging the gap between Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal Australians. On most indicators it has worsened, and nothing  the Liberals or Labor have done or will do will change that.

When Zinger Bill (the ‘Opposition’ ‘leader’), in his reply to Terrific Tony, condemned Abbott government cuts to Aboriginal services as worsening the problem, some of Abbott’s adult army walked out of Parliament.

Under Parliamentary privilege Tosspot Tony revealed the case against two alleged terrorists arrested during the week and in the eyes of many legal experts has raised real doubts about whether they could ever receive a fair trial.

Under Toxic Tony’s guidance unemployment went up to 6.4%, the highest it has been since 2002, when Toe-cutter Tony was (un)Employment Minister.   What a coincidence eh?

Terrorising Tony threatened the Indonesians with unspecified retaliation if they execute two Australian drug smugglers. Maybe he’ll stop turning back the boats.

On Monday morning Testy Tony flicked the switch to vaudeville national security and terrorism. Will people fall for it? I think many will see what is going on – an attempt to divert attention away from ‘good’ government to what he perceives as his government’s strength. Doing that just exposes his weaknesses.

Tony’s troubles go beyond one man. They are the result of the political deadlock between politicians committed to neoliberalism and a population in the main imbued with social democratic ideals.

That is why, with Senators reflecting the strong mood against the unfair 2014 Budget, the majority have blocked significant elements of it. Fairfax cartoonist Moir captures it:

MOIR CARTOON thurs for fri 13 Feb

Replacing Tony with Malcom the Magnificent won’t change that. The problem is systemic, not the personality of the leader. (Having said that Abbott’s incompetence makes anger with his rotten program even greater.)

If Tricky Turnbull can’t save them the ruling class may turn to Barnacle Bill. The problem is that Bill the beguiling isn’t. Bullshit Bill doesn’t have the charisma of a Hawke or the braggadocio of a Keating to hoodwink workers and their union leaders into accepting Labor’s more subtle and hence effective wealth shifting from workers to bosses.

What a choice at the next election: Tzetze Tony or Belly-laugh Bill.  Both are neoliberal necrophiliacs.

Our task remains to build an alternative to these conjoined neoliberal twins.

Police say it is OK to pepper spray protesters away


According to both The Guardian and The Australian, New South Wales police (the ones currently having a few major differences between Deputy Commissioners) think it is OK to pepper spray protesters.

From The Guardian:

Police have defended the handling of the unauthorised protest.

“The NSW police force will not tolerate breaches of the peace or criminal offences being committed by persons who attend unauthorised demonstrations or public assembles [sic],” a statement said.

The Australian ran the same AAP report with the same comment in it.

Unauthorised protests? Breaches of the peace? Criminal offences?

OK, let’s deal with the last matter first. If there were criminal offences being committed why were there no arrests? Could it be this is just a self-serving justification for the violence the police unleashed on protesters? Perhaps what we will now see is some after the event action by police to retrospectively justify their attacks.

What breaches of the peace? I wasn’t aware demonstrating was a breach of the peace. This sets a dangerous precedent for all future demonstrations.

And unauthorised demonstrations and public assemblies? (Note the correct spelling of assemblies).

We need authorisation, from the police, to demonstrate. This is the police state beginning its long tortuous road to more and more repression.

Leaving aside the fact such laws may not withstand a High Court freedom of speech challenge, the idea that you need approval from police to demonstrate is deeply offensive to democratic principles. It was the police of course who did not authorise (i.e. banned) one protest at the Israeli Film Festival last year.

Why do police have this power? To regulate protest. What the ruling class fears is effective protest.  In the words of John Gorton:  ‘We will tolerate dissent as long as it remains ineffective.’ Now it appears even that illusion of freedom is under attack.

What to do? As I wrote in relation to the Charlie Hebdo protests:

The defence of free speech is an important struggle for the left. The demonstrations in defence of free speech prompted by the murder of the Charlie Hedbo journalists offer some hope for us to both join in that movement and argue for an expansion of free speech from the ruling class to all of us as well as fight Islamophobia. In Australia that means being involved, as best we can and when opportunities present, to mobilise against the growing neoliberal encroachment of and restrictions on free speech and other civil liberties and any racist outbreaks.  It also means pointing out the limited nature of free speech under capitalism and highlighting the attacks of the 1% on it and explaining the possibilities for its expansion to give voice to the voiceless, the vast majority in society.

Students are keeping that flame of free speech alive with their ‘unauthorised’ protests against Pyne and his attempted destruction of Universities. To defend free speech and Universities join with students in their just campaign against fee deregulation and funding cuts on 25 March across Australia.