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. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/18-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-g20-meeting-age-of-enttilement-engineers-attack-of-austerity-hardship-on-civilians.mp3 (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. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2014/02/11/john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-2/ (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/4-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-end-of-the-age-of-entitlement-for-the-needy-but-pandering-to-the-lusts-of-the-greedy.mp3 (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
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Real debate?
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System change, not climate change
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Of packages and politicians

The comment on commercial radio by Jacqui Lambie, the Palmer United Party Senator for Tasmania, that any prospective partner ‘ must have heaps of cash and they’ve got to have a package between their legs,’ has seen a few middle class male political gossip mongers go into meltdown and Destroy the Joint condemn her for her ‘sexism’.

Calling her comments ‘sexist’, in response to a sexist question, misunderstands the nature of women’s oppression.

‘I’m not a prude but…’ is how the men often begin their puerile protestestations of prurience. Like its cousin ‘I’m not a racist but…’ the opening line reveals the deepest insecurities and the reality.

Sometimes the repressed outrage is disguised as tut tutting about these type of comments not being appropriate behaviour for a Senator. My god, a Senator saying what millions of Australians can understand and relate to. Shocking.

Obviously what we should have in Parliament, according to our esteemed commentators, are robots able to parrot the party line defending the latest bout of genocide against Palestinians, or invasion of some poor country, or increasing poverty, or brutalising asylum seekers.

Evidently what we need in Parliament is people what speak proper defending the barbarism of the capitalist system, its wars and its austerity.

Jacqui Lambie isn’t one of those professional, fake tan, smooth as baby shit politicians.  She hasn’t had years of coaching and training in Labor Inc or Liberal Inc in how to de-personalise herself to sell a set of lies to the voting public.

None of this means I am a fan of PUP policies. Populism can only get you so far and it isn’t surprising that Clive Palmer, the billionaire leader of the party, used Al Gore as cover for waving through the abolition of the carbon tax.

As readers would know I am no fan of the carbon tax and the costs it imposes on workers, nor of its long term inability to address climate change in any meaningful way. However the abolition of the tax was a signal that the climate change deniers were in charge, and PUP was part of that march back to the 1950s.

So too when PUP supported changes to the financial advice laws which effectively put working men and women at risk of being robbed by rotten greedy advisers, it is clear that their populism goes only so far in defending ordinary people.

There is something else in the outrage about Lambie’s ‘package between their legs’ comments. Apparently women shouldn’t express sexual feelings. It is as if women are mere objects of male desire, asexual receptacles of male lust, not people with their own desires, not subjects of their own.

In this the commentariat reflects the oppression of women in our society, an oppression born of capitalism’s need for the next generation of workers to be raised on the cheap, ie in the family.  To allow or acknowledge that women have individual personhood outside narrow stereotypes might challenge that important role of women in capitalist society.

The response to Lambie’s comments shows that deep down the ruling elite have not left the 1950s.  I’m with those millions of working women and men who say good on her.

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

Equal Love: Labor remains an enemy

According to Matt Akersten in SameSame:

‘The Australian Labor Party is cozying up to the Australian Christian Lobby again, with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten now confirmed as the keynote speaker at the increasingly fringe lobby group’s upcoming 2014 National Conference.’

You can read the full report, including dirt on the ACL, here.

Tell me again how voting Labor is progressive. Tell me again how joining the ALP will win progressive change? Labor is, like the Liberals and the bosses, the enemy.  It is a rotting, neoliberal, conservative carcass.

 

Australia, the US and Israel: a tale of shared genocide

Australia, like the US and Israel, is a colonial settler state built on the genocide of the indigenous peoples.  Like Israel, the dominant ideology was of terra nullius (land belonging to no one), paradoxically populated by ‘barbarians’, the ‘uncivilised’, ‘heathens’ or people ‘less than human’.

The continent pre-1788. None of these areas exist today – with some remnants scattered across Australia and tiny bits recognised as Native Title.

Capitalist development in Australia required the conquest of the land on which the various Aboriginal tribes and clans lived. Driving people off their land is genocide.

Henry Reynolds estimates that in the Frontier Wars between 1788 and 1920 ‘upwards to 30,000 and beyond, perhaps well beyond’ Aboriginal peoples died defending their land. Other estimates are higher, much higher,  especially if one includes the impact of diseases brought in by the settlers.

Similarly the establishment of a modern capitalist state in Palestine required driving many of the original inhabitants off their land. Estimates are that in the original ethnic cleansing Zionism unleashed against Palestinians in 1947/48, around 750,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes and into the concentration camp that is Gaza, and the West Bank, or into the miserable refugee camps in neighbouring Arab countries.

Those Palestinians remaining in the new state became second class citizens.

The logic of capitalism twinned with Zionism is expansion, not only of the productive forces but the population in which that productive process is organised.

It is not just the consequences of the genocide against Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders that continues to this day. The genocide continues. As The Bringing Them Home Report made clear about the Stolen Generation:

The Australian practice of Indigenous child removal involved both systematic racial discrimination and genocide as defined by international law. Yet it continued to be practised as official policy long after being clearly prohibited by treaties to which Australia had voluntarily subscribed.

The racist Northern Territory Intervention is a current example of genocide. Its effect is in part to drive Aboriginal people off their lands and force them to seek refuge in the cities.

This opens up their lands to mining companies. It is and is about re-creating terra nullius.

In Australia the genocide has been ongoing since 1788.  In the US the genocide against American Indians has been ongoing since white settlement there well over 400 years ago.

The disappearing Indian lands.

Israeli genocide against Palestinians has only been happening since before the formation of the state of Israel in 1948. They have a lot of catching up to do to succeed on the same scale as their white American and white Australian ruling class brothers and sisters.

They also believe they have a lot of time. The slow genocide in Palestine, like that in Australia and the US, aims to push back the original inhabitants and steal their land over a long period of time.

The genocidal success to date of Zionism is remarkable, and the invasion of the concentration camp that is Gaza these last few days is but the latest step in the 66 year program of genocide against the Palestinians.

The disappearing Palestine. Does this look familiar?

What can we do? Now more than ever we all need to stand with Palestine. One way to do that is to begin building more and more BDS campaigns right here in Australia. Another of course is to attend the rallies for Palestine.

Me in New Matilda today on the Murdochisation of the Fairfax media

John Passant offers a way forward for a once mighty newspaper empire in steady decline.

Me in New Matilda today.

MH17 and Palestine: A tale of two tragedies

Of the 298 murdered on Malaysian Airways Flight MH17, 36 were from Australia. The outpouring of grief and support from ordinary people here in Australia has been overwhelming. It restores hope for the future, a future in which we working people, compassionate and caring, run society.

On the other hand, the hypocrisy from our political ‘leaders’ and the capitalist media has been gut wrenching. The hypocrisy is threefold.

First, under the guise of faux outrage about the deaths of 298 innocent people they have used the attack on MH17 – almost certainly done by Russian backed Ukranian separatists – to further the West’s goal of total encirclement of Russian imperialism. Abbott is using MH17 to further crass geopolitical interests.

An image haunts my mind. Has the Archduke been assassinated? Is this 1914 all over again?

The realists in the US ruling class know, because of the decline of US power, that a test with Russia may not end well. The irrationalists don’t know, or care.

Secondly Abbott is using the tragedy to unite people behind his government and the attacks on the poor and working class. Already his Budget cuts have claimed one well know life – that of Gavin Jones, the founder of the Deadly Awards who died after cuts to Aboriginal funding, including his own work. There will be many many more.

To save lives at home we need to unite not with the Abbott government in grief but against it in anger.

This government’s compassion is selective. It ends completely when dealing with asylum seekers. It brutalises refugees. This is the government that has kidnapped 153 asylum seekers on the high seas and locked them up in the hull of an Australian customs ship without windows.  It is the government which sends asylum seekers back to their oppressors.

Thirdly, the atrocities the West has committed and continues to commit against innocent civilians far outweighs shooting down one passenger airliner. The ruling classes of the countries which invaded Iraq and Afghanistan have the blood of over a million people on their hands. That includes Australia’s ruling class and its State – people like John Howard, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott.

The MH17 atrocity hides all of that. It creates or reinforces the concept of ‘the other’ as evil and ‘us’ as good.  It hides the evil that are our ruling classes.

The Australian media are pushing the tragedy for all it is worth, with page after incessant page virtually airbrushing everything else – Palestine, austerity, asylum seekers – from history.

The war crimes of others do that and hide the recent evil history of ‘our’ supposedly civilised ruling classes. Apart from Iraq and Afghanistan, the Americans, along with allies like Australia, killed more than 2 million in Vietnam and the rest of IndoChina. Henry Kissinger will never be brought to account for his war crimes there.

Neither will George W Bush nor drone murderer Barack Obama face a court for their war crimes. War criminal Tony Blair is now a Middle East ‘peace negotiator’, basically for Israel, let it be added.

Indeed, as we speak, US client state Israel, with its bombing and invasion of Gaza, is unleashing the next stage in its 66 year long genocide of Palestinians. There are no tears from Western leaders for the innocents murdered by Israel in the last week or so.

Our leaders are consistent. They cry and rail against an outrage when it serves the interests of imperialism or their own national agenda (often to hide austerity).

In the case of Israel they are silent in the face of genocide because it is carried out by one of their partners in imperialism. They only break their silence on the Israeli genocide of Palestinians to support it and to support Israel.

 

Among many ordinary people the story is different. Across the globe there have been rallies for Palestine, including 100,000 in London and 10,000 in Sydney this weekend.

This outpouring in defence of Palestine is heartening. It shows that the same emotions of support, care and compassion that many Australians feel for the Australian victims on board MH17 can break the shackles of national boundaries and nationalism.

There is hope that Australians will see through the charade that Tony Abbott is putting on about MH17 and understand that he is a nasty brutish warrior for the ruling class. The bastard who wants to tax you for going to the doctor, who wants to make you work longer and longer, who wants to cut your pension, who wants to impose $100000 fees to attend University, who is forcing the unemployed off the dole for six months, who is attacking services for Aboriginal people and wanting to drive them off their land, who is cutting $80 billion from health and education, who is spending $24 billion on fighter jets, is the same bastard who is silent on the massacres of Palestinians.

Once a ruling class bastard always a ruling class bastard.

Let’s respect the dead. Don’t let the lying Abbott play us for suckers on MH17 too like he is playing us for over Palestine.

To comment or see what others are saying hit the comments link under the heading. like all posts on this blog comments close after 7 days. 

Stafford by-election: Queensland government in shock

Shocked Liberal National Party Stafford candidate Bob Anderson looks on with young LNP friends at the Stafford by-election loss …

With nearly 80% of the vote counted the swing against the Newman government in Queensland in the Stafford by-election is 18.6%. If replicated at the election in March next year the Liberal National Party government would be wiped out, much as the Labor government at the last election in Queensland was.

My thanks to Daniel Griffiths for this.

My interview with Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday

Why what is happening in Palestine is genocide

Stop the genocide. Rally for Palestine this weekend.

I first re-posted this article, from Socialist Alternative and by Mick Armstrong, on my blog  in 2010, and again in 2012, in response to open Israeli attacks on Palestinians. In light of the murderous attacks and now ground invasion of Gaza I am posting it again. Socialist Alternative’s newspaper is now Red Flag and it has articles on the most recent genocidal attacks on Palestine.

John

______________________

It seems that even the most horrendous crimes, such as the genocide in Gaza, are treated as disparate events, unconnected to anything that happened in the past and not associated with any ideology or system… But there is a clear pattern [of genocide].
– Israeli historian Ilan Pappé

There has been considerable confusion and debate on the left about whether to describe the atrocities committed against the Palestinian people as genocide and about whether direct comparisons should be made between the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews and the current treatment of the Palestinians by the Israeli state.

These questions are connected to a broader issue – the consistent charges of anti-Semitism against anyone who dares to criticise Zionism.

Genocide is a loaded term. What is classified as genocide is much contested politically. The left in Australia long campaigned, in the face of vociferous right-wing opposition, to establish that the destruction of Aboriginal society by British imperialism, and more recently the Stolen Generations, were acts of genocide.

Similarly the British establishment has never conceded that the great Irish famine of the nineteenth century was genocide and the Turkish government stridently opposes the designation of the Armenian massacres as genocide.

On the other hand the right, for their own cynical reasons, have labelled the dispossession of white farmers in Zimbabwe and the massacres in Darfur as genocide. When it comes to popular usage, genocide has come to mean pretty much any atrocity, massacre or slaughter. So for example the war in Iraq is commonly described as genocide, as is the Sri Lankan government’s war against the Tamil Tigers.

The term genocide was first coined in 1944 by Jewish law professor Raphael Lemkin, a campaigner against the Armenian massacres. Lemkin defined genocide in his book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. He uses the term, not only to describe policies of outright extermination against Jews and Gypsies, but for less immediate Nazi goals.

In Lemkin’s analysis Nazi Germany sought the demographic restructuring of Europe. Therefore he also used the word genocide to describe a “coordinated plan of different actions” intended to promote such goals as an increase in the birth rate of the “Aryan” population, the physical destruction of the Slavic population over a period of years, and policies to bring about the destruction of the “culture, language, national feelings, religion” and separate economic existence (but not physical existence) of non-German “Aryan” nations. Lemkin states:

“Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation… It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups.”

Lemkin’s definition became the basis for the definition of genocide used by the UN, the international courts, the US Holocaust Museum and similar organisations. Nonetheless right from the start the definition of genocide was a highly politicised question, and at Stalin’s insistence the UN excluded mass slaughters of a class of people or carried out for political reasons from its definition of genocide.

The UN definition of genocide includes specific acts that kill a few hundred people. So for example the UN General Assembly voted that the massacre of the Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in the 1980s by the fascist Lebanese Phalangist militias (with the backing of Israel) was genocide.

But more than that, the legal meaning of genocide and Lemkin’s definition specifically say that physical killings don’t have to occur. So in the case of the Aborigines, the very policy of assimilation was genocidal. Assimilation was about eliminating the race by “peaceful” means.

The UN definition of genocide also includes “forcibly transferring children of the group”. An important example of this is the Stolen Generations. The Stolen Generations were about taking the children away, “breeding out the race” etc., not physical killings. Indeed throughout the 1960s and 1970s, when children were still being taken away, the Aboriginal population rose.

On the basis of this officially-accepted definition of genocide there is no doubt that the horrors inflicted on the Palestinian people qualify as genocide. So there is no reason why socialists should hold back from using the term genocide to describe what is happening to the Palestinians.

Left-wing Jews such as Ilan Pappé and prominent supporters of the Palestinians such as John Pilger have been increasingly outspoken on the issue. All around the world Palestinians and their supporters raised the slogan “stop the genocide in Gaza”. To oppose them doing this on the basis of a quibble over the precise meaning of a word that is bandied about all the time to refer to other atrocities would simply serve to down play the atrocities the Palestinian people face.

It needs to be emphasised that there is no reason that genocides have to fit the pattern of the Holocaust, Rwanda or the Irish famine, where a tremendous slaughter took place in a concentrated time frame. In contrast the Armenian genocide extended over decades.

In North America and Australia the genocide lasted hundreds of years. At times there were massacres, but in Australia they were usually in the tens, not in the tens of thousands. At times the US and Australian authorities retreated from genocidal policies and reached agreements with the Indigenous peoples, but over the long haul it was genocide. It flowed from the logic of a colonial settler state.

More Palestinians have been killed over the last decade (let alone the last 70 years) than were killed in Bosnia by the Serbs, yet Bosnia is widely considered to be genocide. The numbers killed during the 2009 war on Gaza are just the tip of the iceberg. Many, many more Palestinians are killed by the blockade, by starvation, disease, denial of medical facilities, torture and so on.

According to the detailed estimates by the Jewish scientist Dr Gideon Polya, there are 7 million Palestinian refugees and 85 per cent of Christian Palestinians have fled. The 1.5 million Palestinians who reside within the borders of the Israeli state live under race-based apartheid laws (including the requirement to carry compulsory race-based ID at all times; race-based marriage prohibition laws; race-based discrimination over property acquisition, property rights, social participation, travel in their own country and family reunion).

Four million Palestinians in the Occupied Territories are held as virtual prisoners in increasingly abusive conditions. They are held without charge or trial in what are effectively concentration camps in Gaza and the West Bank; and their capital city has been stolen. Post-invasion excess deaths (i.e. avoidable deaths from bombs or bullets or deprivation) now total 0.3 million.

On top of this an estimated 24 million excess deaths occurred in the countries partly occupied by the state of Israel in the last 60 years – Egypt 19.8m, Jordan 0.6m, Lebanon 0.5m, Syria 2.2m. Polya argues:

“This racist, genocidal horror was inevitable from the outset in the late 19th century when the Zionists set out on a program of racist colonisation to mimic what Western Europeans were already doing… the Americas (genocide of the Indigenous Indians…); horrendous racist colonisation and mass murder in West Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa; the Aboriginal Genocide in Australia…and mass murder in Asia (excess deaths from the British enslavement of India…total 1.5 billion; excess deaths in China from the Opium Wars and the Tai Ping rebellion totalled 20-100 million).”

The long term Zionist colonial project is genocidal, whether or not one labels the specific military attack on Gaza in December 2008/January 2009 as genocide. The same logic is at work in Israel as in Australia and North America, because of its origins as a white colonial settler state and its relationship to imperialism. White colonial settler states are under constant pressure to behave in a genocidal way towards the native population in order to secure their position.

In the case of Israel, as long as the Zionists attempt to maintain a predominantly Jewish state they are pushed to be genocidal – witness the repeated wars, the continuing destruction of Palestinian society in the West Bank, the relentless stealing of land, the continuing military incursions and massacres, the destruction of the Palestinian economy and the blockade and now bombing and imminent invasion of Gaza.

This is remarkably similar to what happened to native Americans as they were dispossessed of their land and driven onto reservations that were constantly encroached on. It took hundreds of years for the US state to dispossess them and complete the genocide. The weaker Israeli state by comparison has only been at it for a bit over 60 years.

Should socialists refer to the genocide of the Palestinians as a holocaust?

The term holocaust has been used since the 18th century to refer to the violent deaths of a large number of people – a disaster or a catastrophe.The term holocaust is originally derived from the Greek word – holos (completely) kaustos (burnt) – used to describe a sacrificial offering to a god.

However over the last 40 years, the term has taken on a very specific meaning. Holocaust has increasingly become the word used to describe the barbaric slaughter of European Jewry by the Nazis.

The Holocaust was not simply mass murder. It was one of the high points of capitalist barbarism in the 20th century. It was an attempt by an advanced imperialist power to use modern capitalist industry, science, technology and regimented methods to systematically exterminate a whole people.

For this reason socialists should not loosely describe every massacre or horror committed by capitalism as another Holocaust. But this does not mean that other people who use the word holocaust to describe specific atrocities (there is for example an Irish Holocaust Society to commemorate the great famine) or who compare the atrocities in Palestine or other parts of the world to the Holocaust are being anti-Semitic or are deliberately downplaying the significance of the Holocaust as the Zionist establishment repeatedly proclaims.

The question of anti-Semitism

One of the reasons that some people draw back from using the term genocide to describe the horrors inflicted on the Palestinians is that they inevitably face the charge of anti-Semitism. But there is nothing anti-Semitic about saying the Palestinians have endured genocide.

It would be like saying it is racist to Indonesians to acknowledge the genocide in East Timor, or racist to Turks to acknowledge the Armenian genocide. Describing the Stolen Generations as genocide, even though it did not involve state organised mass murder on the scale of Nazi Germany, is not to belittle the Holocaust or to pander to anti-Semitism.

The fact that the issue of anti-Semitism is constantly raised in connection to the Palestinian struggle reflects the weight of imperialist propaganda and its deep permeation in countries like Australia. Israeli Jews do not suffer from anti-Semitism. They are part of an oppressor nation that is backed to the hilt by US imperialism.

Similarly the situation of Jews in the West has changed dramatically since Israel became a key prop for US imperialism. Unlike 60-70 years ago there is no significant section of the Jewish population in the West that is racially oppressed or involved in any struggle against imperialism.

Quite the reverse. The Western Jewish populations are overwhelmingly supporters of imperialism and the Zionists are lionised by the political establishment as heroes. Kevin Rudd faced not even a peep of criticism in establishment circles when he officially celebrated the terrorist war that set up the state of Israel.

Imagine if Rudd hailed the accomplishments of the IRA in founding the Irish Republic! Respectable opinion would be outraged.

It is many decades since papers like The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald unleashed racist campaigns against Jews. Today The Age seeks to use spurious charges of anti-Semitism to discredit socialists and supporters of Palestine.

The US and Australian ruling classes constantly harp on about the evils of anti-Semitism in order to justify their imperialist project in the Middle East, to attack the Arab masses and Western supporters of the struggle against imperialism and to divert attention from the atrocities they are carrying out.

Socialists don’t want to fall into the trap of downplaying what is happening to the Arabs because of concerns about whether the horrors inflicted on them are as bad as what happened to the Jews in the Holocaust.

Socialists need to orient to those fighting against imperialism today – the Arab masses and their Western supporters – not to those supporting imperialism.

The carbon tax is dead; long live a price on carbon?

The ruling class is a band of hostile brothers. They unite against workers but fight among themselves for a bigger share of the surplus value workers create.

This means some capitalists will have life and death interests in fossil fuel. ‘Some capitalists’ may be an underestimate since the whole system is dependent on fossil fuel for its continued operation.

It is this material base, protecting the current global and fossil fuel dependent and ‘efficient’ arrangements for the extraction of surplus value from workers, which provides the breeding ground for the climate change deniers and sceptics and finds political expression in the repeal today of the carbon tax, with effect from 1 July this year.

Another faction of capital and elements of the state understand the existential threat greenhouse gas emissions pose to capitalism but also worship at the altar of profit and the market. This imposes real constraints on their ability to take strong measures which address climate change and do so quickly, both on a national and an international level.

Their compromises accept the market, and the need to hasten slowly. The result in Australia has been a carbon tax putting a seemingly high price on carbon but one too low to have much medium term effect on emissions, but a carbon tax in which many polluters  were compensated up to 92.5% of the cost of their pollution permits.

The alternative, which Labor argues for now, is an emissions trading scheme linked to the European market. The price there at the moment is $8 a tonne, well below the inadequate $25.40 this year in the just repealed carbon tax.

The Labor Party and the Greens support some form of price on carbon, in other words a market solution. They do this because their politics is neoliberal; the politics of the market.

Yet the market, and market failure – think externalities not priced in – are the reason we face a long term threat to humanity’s continued existence.

There is a capitalist logic to not pricing in externalities, in this case the price of the destruction of the environment through the production of greenhouse gases.

They are not part of the production process, do not involve the sale of labour power or the use of machines; in short they don’t give rise to an increase in the price of the commodity being produced.

It is the community which bears the cost in terms of the warming Earth but ultimately that warming threatens capitalism itself. Socialism or barbarism comes to mind, although given the failure to act in any significant way by the big economies and the decline of class struggle across the developed world, barbarism in the future is a safe bet.

The Coalition’s Direct Action plan is a furphy, designed to give the impression of doing something about climate change without actually doing anything real.

Of course the repeal of the carbon tax highlights the reactionary and backward nature of the Abbott government.  The anti-scientists are in the political ascendency.

The price on carbon people don’t inspire confidence either. The price is always too low, and tries to use the market, through government manipulation of the price, to influence consumer behaviour.

This Pigovian approach as mentioned above doesn’t lead to a price on fossil fuel extraction and use that compensates for the environmental damage done. If it did the price would be in the hundreds of dollars, not the carbon tax price of $24.50 per tonne or the European ETS of $8 per tonne. T

hat would be catastrophic for workers and undermine one of the basic tenets of capitalism that workers sell their labour power at around its value.

The problem in the class divided society we live in is which class should bear the burden of addressing climate change – those whose labour produces the wealth or those whose capital locks us into fossil fuel use and slow extinction?

The Labor Party and the Greens want to make workers pay for the environmental crisis. Some in the Coalition do too, while others just want to continue to let the bosses pump shit into the atmosphere as the logical expression of free market capitalism, even when it threatens the market’s very existence in the medium to long term.

The answer to me is in making the bosses across the globe, those who profit from the environmentally destructive way capitalism is organised, pay for their crimes against the environment.

One radical reformist solution involves a net wealth tax of 1% on the top 10%. This would yield about $40 billion annually, about the amount needed to adopt the Beyond Zero Emissions Stationary Energy Plan to transition to a renewable energy Australia over a decade.

This side of socialist revolution the only way that can happen is through a strong state pushing through or imposing restraints on the fossil fuel sectors of capital to save capitalism itself. Australia under Labor and the Coalition does not have a strong state capable of imposing its will on capitalists for the benefit of or rescue of capitalism.

To overcome the fossil fuel branch of capitalism and its power such a strong state would need I think to be a dictatorship. No socialist is going to argue for a dictatorship of the capitalist state.

I oppose the carbon tax and an ETS for two main reasons. First they wouldn’t be effective in addressing climate change globally in time and secondly they impose the cost on workers, not bosses. They reflect the current skewed arrangements under capitalism in which we work and they profit.

Making workers poorer so the bosses can continue to exploit us is not a strategy for success.

A net wealth tax of 1% on the top 10% would yield about $40 billion annually, about the amount needed to adopt the Beyond Zero Emissions Stationary Energy Plan to transition to a renewable energy Australia over a decade.

The fact that capitalism in Australia and elsewhere is built on fossil fuel use means it will take a revolution to achieve a totally renewable energy society. Why? Because only a democratic working class revolution can put people before profit.

As the entrenched interests of capital and the drive for profit emasculate or defeat any real action on climate the choice is becoming clearer – climate change or system change.

Spanking: not fit even for low-life politicians

Kevin Donnelly, the reactionary ‘educationalist’ heading up Tony Abbott’s school curriculum ‘review’, has come out in favour of corporal punishment in schools. Beating kids up does not ‘discipline ‘them. It brutalises them and teaches them violence is OK.

The fact that Donnelly holds such 1950s views, and I use the description deliberately since my Catholic schools beat me and many of my friends regularly back then, shows this is a government that wants to take us back to the ‘good old days’, and not just in terms of discipline, or even curricula, but more generally the stifling conservative social mores that the ruling class stuffed down our throats to help make us disciplined robots for profit.

It also wants us to take us back to a more repressive era of state control, even suppression, of dissent and a complete disempowering of unions (although unions are doing a good job of disembowelling themselves.)

The world has changed just a little since 1953. The capitalist drive for profit and its reinvestment hasn’t.

The pressures workers felt then workers feel today, and the responses are much the same. They want better health and education systems, an adequate standard of living and fair treatment for those less well off.

The difference is that in the 1950s and 1960s workers were prepared to fight for these things by striking and capitalism had an economic base sufficient to pay for better wages and improving social services and welfare. That was in the days when profit rates were high and the bosses could afford to let us have a few scraps from their banquet to keep us happy.

Now with global profit rates in decline as a consequence of the systemic drive under capitalism to be more ‘efficient’ by reinvesting more in machines than labour, the surplus out of which to pay higher wages and fund government spending is shrinking, or in some countries, disappearing.

There are a range of ways that capital tries to redress this systemic problem of falling profit rates. Cutting government spending on programs that help the working class is one. Cutting real, and in some cases nominal wages, is another. Lengthening the working day and the amount of unpaid work we do for the bosses is yet another.

Attached to these economic attacks has been a cultural shift in the ruling class and its ideology to more and more set up systems to teach and breed obedience. The school system is about training young workers to become obedient automatons for the profit system and inculcating good ruling class values of nation and family and subservience to our masters and betters. That is why the curriculum review will recommend a return to rote learning, history as dates, English as a language stuck in the 19th Century with strict rules to follow, geography as places, Latin as a language base … The emphasis is on the what, not the why.

That is before compulsory Christian prostletysing and obedience worhhip becomes the norm in all public schools.

Hand in hand with this mind numbing educational socialisation goes the body numbing thump thump thump of discipline. They want to brutalise kids’ bodies to brutalise kids’ minds. We need to resist both.