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
(0)

Real debate?
(0)

System change, not climate change
(0)

Sick kids and paying upfront

(0)

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The smoke and mirrors budget

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Solidarity magazine argues that Tony Abbott is desperately praying that this year’s budget will save his skin. But the budget cuts from last year remain in place, and even his new spending on childcare relies on taking money allocated elsewhere for families and new mothers.

To read the whole article click here.

With some Joyce words, Australia plumbs new depps and goes to the dogs

I was listening to Lobo the other day. And lo and behold Johnny Depp arrives on our shores not only with Boo but Pistol as well.

Pistol? What are they? Gun dogs? No, they are Yorkshire terriers.

Happy Dogz staff pose with Boo and Pistol

 

Depp’s deception was discovered when he posted photos of the dogs being groomed. It is reassuring to know that all that extra money on spy agencies and border protection is money well spent.

Let’s hope some of this dog sniffing expertise spreads to the tax office and catches the big business mongrels who avoid billions in tax.

Speaking of terriers, Depp’s action in bringing his two canines to Australia in his private jet has unleashed the rabid dog killer in Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce. He has threatened to have Boo and Pistol put down if they are not out of the country by Saturday. Illegal arrivals must be dealt with harshly.

Joyce’s interview is bound to become a minor masterpiece. It might also dog him the rest of his career.

The excuse for all this vitriol? The dogs might bring in various diseases. So why threaten them with death? Isn’t it too late by now?

One alternative would have been to tell Depp privately to take his dogs back to the US. Why go public about this? The Minister has made it an issue and exposed once again the incompetence of this government. Who knows, maybe the best description of Abbott and co might be: Tough on terriers; weak on tax avoiders.

Maybe Joyce wants his 15 seconds cocking his leg on the international stage. He’s got it. Maybe it was his Monty Python English pig dog moment.

Maybe it was a distraction from Tuesday’s Budget as the facade of fairness begins to unravel.

Perhaps it could have been Joyce’s way fo saying to ordianry taxpayers –  look we do attack the rich occasionally; leaving unsaid the reality that we just don’ t tax them.

Barnaby’s brain snap highlights the caring sharing nature of this government. Fresh from alienating new mothers in the Budget, what better strategy can they come up with than pissing off the dog lovers of the nation? In a Joyce move, the terrier Barnaby has unleashed a real winner. He’s the pistol. Boo.

The bullsh*t Budget

‘Have a go.’ This is the mantra of the Abbott government in response to Tuesday night’s Budget.

They forgot to add the final two words of this famous Australian sporting epithet. ‘Have a go, ya mug’ is what they really mean.  Mugs are what they are taking us for.

The Budget is anything but beige. There are a long list of losers.  These include many women workers covered by employer paid parental leave schemes, the unemployed, home mums and their families,  families receiving Family Tax Benefit Benefit B with kids 6 years or older, Universities and their staff and students, Aboriginies,  the health system with $2 bn in cuts now and in 2018, along with education, $80 bn in cuts. Here is a list complied by Peter Boyle from Green Left Weekly of some of the cuts in Abbott-Hockey’s ‘nice’ Budget 2015.

  • foreign aid $902 million;
  • Indigenous programs funding $36 million;
  • families with children $665 million;
  • veterans & dependents $198 million;
  • schools $228 million;
  • ABC & SBS $14 million;
  • student assistance $416 million;
  • hospital services $232 million;
  • health services $136 million; and
  • housing $72 million.

This list is incomplete and more and more cuts (for example to the Arts) will come to light as time goes on. And of course even some of the back-downs from the 2014 Budget such as the withdrawal of the GP co-payment have been introduced via the backdoor of a freeze on the Medicare rebate till 2018, putting real pressure on doctors to reduce or abolish bulk billing as their costs but not remuneration go up.

Make no mistake. This is a budget that gives with one hand and takes away with the other. It takes away from the working class and the poor to give to other groups in the working class a bit, but also to small business and the rich and even to big business.

The subterfuge continues in what the government won’t do – attack the massive but disguised spending on the rich through tax concessions. For example the Murray report into Australia’s Financial System highlights the $15 bn going to the top 20% of income earners through superannuation tax reductions and exemptions. This graph captures the reality of these tax grants to the rich.

Chart 6: Share of total superannuation tax concessions by income decile

This chart shows the proportion of superannuation tax concessions accrued to different deciles of income earners, based on 2011-12 ATO data. Higher income earners receive greater tax concessions, with more than half tax concessions accruing to the top 20 per cent of income earners.

Or take negative gearing, another area along with superannuation the Abbott government has ruled out doing anything. How gets the most benefits from negative gearing? This graph is from the Australia Institute via the New Daily.

Malcolm Turnbull's constituents gain the most from negative gearing. Source: The Australia Institute.

 

As Peter Martin reported:

No doubt you are as shocked as I am that the main beneficiaries of negative gearing appear to be rich people, and not just rich people but rich people in senior Liberal Party member seats. Of course, that wouldn’t explain the government’s inaction. Not at all.

The government’s guesses for future economic growth look – what is a nice word I can use? –  ‘optimistic’. In 2015/16 the Budget estimates that GDP will grow by 2.75% and in 2016/17 by 3.25%. If you believe this I have a nice little bridge in Sydney I’d like to sell you.

Their revenue projections look like mad hatter jabberings (or should that be jabberwockerings?).

The figures and predictions for total tax receipt growth are 3.7% in 2013-14, 3.9% in 2014-15, then skyrocketing to 5.3% in 2015-16  and a massive 7.1% in 2016-17.  Bracket creep of course will bring in some extra money from the working class but with only small wage increases and the end of the mining boom the trends for revenue collections should point at best to modest increases. To throw the hackneyed cry of conservatives down the ages back in their faces, where’s this money coming from?

These sorts of figures are designed to give the impression that in the medium term Abbott and co will return the Budget to surplus. The government is lying to us because it is trapped by its fake Budget emergency rhetoric of the past.

There is no government Budget emergency, now or into the foreseeable future. The Budget black hole bullshit was and is cover for austerity, basically attacks on the working class and poor to further the shift on national income from labour to capital.

While Australia has a private (personal and business) debt problem, the government’s program of immediate write offs for small business expenditure up to $20,000 will only worsen that. The banks are gearing up for a spending bonanza, as are local business suppliers and retailers.

This Keynesian neoliberalism won’t address the fundamental problem of Australian capitalism, the decline in profit rates since about 2011.

It may create a demand bubble for a while but one which doesn’t restore profit rates.

Other ‘solutions’, solutions which are already under way, include lengthening the working day – Australian workers already work long hours, on average 43 hours a week, with up to $110 bn in unpaid overtime – cutting real and even nominal wage and ‘refocussing’ spending on social welfare and services while increasing spending on the strong state (defence, border ‘protection’, spies, surveillance).

The biggie of course is a crisis in which a lot of capital goes to the wall, but perhaps the too big to fail syndrome will prevent that from happening, ensuring that the next crisis will be even deeper and fall even more heavily on workers and the poor.

The Budget shows the government is treating us like mugs. The next time Abbott or Hockey tell us to have a go, our response should be ‘you have to go, ya mugs.’

My pre-Budget interview with Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp

This is the link to my 30 minute interview with Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Monday, before the Budget.

Fighting tax avoidance with a meme

The makings of revolution

The word “revolution” is often misused to describe events or historical developments that are far from revolutionary. Writing in Socialist Worker US, Paul D’Amato, author of The Meaning of Marxism, explains what Marxists mean – and don’t mean – when they talk about revolution. This article is the introduction to an occasional series on revolutions through history.

Images from the Egyptian Revolution (above) and Russian Revolution

REVOLUTION HAS always been at the heart of Marxism.

At a speech at the funeral of Karl Marx in 1883, Marx’s closest lifelong collaborator Frederick Engels explained that, “Marx was before all else a revolutionist” whose “real mission in life was to contribute, in one way or another, to the overthrow of capitalist society and of the state institutions which it had brought into being.”

Marx sought, said Engels, “to contribute to the liberation of the modern proletariat, which he was the first to make conscious of its own position and its needs, conscious of the conditions of its emancipation.”

On those rare occurrences when Marx receives mainstream praise, it is reserved for his insightful analysis of capitalism–while his revolutionary views are artificially separated off and condemned as unrealistic, dangerous or both.

As for Marx himself, he once wrote to a colleague that he thought his most important contribution was not discovering that society was class-divided, or that those classes engaged in struggle against one another–others had already done this, he said.

Rather, Marx said his contribution was the recognition that “the existence of classes is only bound up with particular historical phases in the development of production,” and that the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism by the working class (the “proletariat” of Engels’ speech) and the establishment of workers’ democratic rule over society would lead a transition to a “classless society.”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THE TERM “revolution” can be rather elastic. It is often used metaphorically to sell products or refer to a drawn-out process of social or economic change (as in the Industrial Revolution).

Revolution is more accurately described as the forcible replacement of one government by another. But this definition is quite broad, and could also include a military coup, which is often a means to prevent or defeat a revolution (think of Gen. el-Sisi’s coup in Egypt).

The movement that led to the downfall of Hosni Mubarak’s hated dictatorship in Egypt a few years previously can be accurately described as a political revolution. It brought down a dictatorship and replaced it with a form of representative democracy.

But it was not a social revolution–that is, a revolution that leads not only to the altering of political power, but to the reordering of society’s social and economic relations. The political revolution–exemplified by the move from dictatorship to democracy, as has happened in many countries, from South Korea to Turkey to Tunisia–is the more common form of revolution.

A social revolution is one that moves beyond the political. It is a more or less concentrated period of transformation where a clash of social forces results in the overthrow of the dominant class and its state by a rising social class–which then uses newly acquired state power to accelerate the transformation of society’s social and economic relations.

As Engels succinctly put it, “Every real revolution is a social one, in that it brings a new class to power and allows it to remodel society in its own image.”

A political revolution can have social impulses. The Egyptian revolution involved masses of people who wanted more far-reaching changes than just the end of Mubarak’s rule. But these aspirations of workers, students and poor people who came out into the streets were not organized or coherent enough to push the revolution beyond this phase.

A social revolution combines both the political and the social, with political power being the precondition for making bigger social transformations possible.

The ruling class of each nation looks upon revolution with horror–with the exception of the ones that are far enough in the past that they can be safely enshrined as part of a national myth. The same band of rulers in the U.S. whose political system was established by armed revolutionary violence–and who routinely use the utmost violence to defend the social order at home and promote their interests abroad–like to preach about peaceful, gradual change to the rest of us.

In an acerbic critique about how the British ruling class’s attempt to depict “gradualism” as a law of historical development was flatly contradicted by its brutal colonial record, the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky wrote:

One can, of course…say that violence in international relations is permissible and even inevitable, but that in relations between social classes it is reprehensible. But then there is no point in speaking of a “natural law” of gradualness which supposedly governs the whole development of nature and society. Then one must simply say: an oppressed class is obliged to support the oppressor class of its own nation when the latter adopts violence for its own ends; but that the oppressed class has no right to use violence to ensure a better position for itself in a society based upon oppression. But this will be no longer a “law of nature” but the law of the bourgeois criminal code.

The closer we get to the present, the more revolution is presented in the mainstream as either the ravings of a violent mob, the work of a tiny band of violent conspirators or both. These are convenient conceptions that reflect, in the words of the U.S. socialist Hal Draper, the ruling class’s “dread of revolutionary violence,” as well as its “unwillingness and inability to conceive of revolution as social upheaval from below.”

Revolution is neither a sheer act of will nor an inevitable process of transformation that happens behind people’s backs. It is a process that requires the ripening of certain material and social conditions as a result of previous human activity, as well as the more or less conscious immediate intervention of social groups and classes who have been made aware in some way of these deepening social contradictions and seek to reshape society along new lines.

In short, revolution is, in Marx’s words, “the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one.”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

MARX SUMMARIZED his conception of this historical process in his famous Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy.

His first premise is materialism–that “[t]he mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life.”

Human beings, Marx argues, enter into definite “relations of production” based on the “given stage in the development of their material forces of production”–that is, the level of productive powers attained with given methods of production leads to a corresponding social relations.

The “totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society,” Marx writes. And upon this foundation is erected a legal and political “superstructure.”

For Marx, the development of human history can be understood as a series of transformations based upon the development of human productive powers from one “mode of production” to another–from egalitarian foraging societies, through slave and feudal societies, to capitalism, and eventually beyond.

But Marx did not believe that a purely technological change would automatically bring about a change in the mode of production. The process of social transformation would take place because of the contradiction that developed and matured within the framework of a given set of production relations.

“At a certain stage of development,” Marx argued, “the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production…From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters.”

Gradual changes within a given mode of production would give rise to burgeoning contradictions. The development of society’s productive forces within a given framework puts strains on that framework and threatens to burst its bounds, leading to social revolution. “Then begins an era of social revolution,” Marx concluded. “The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure.”

But who carried out this revolution?

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

FOR ALL of history since the lengthy period when our ancestors lived in egalitarian foraging bands, each mode of production has been characterized by the division of society into an exploiting and exploited class: a tiny class that appropriated society’s surplus wealth and a much larger exploited class whose labor produced that wealth.

The mode of production was defined by the particular way that the surplus was obtained, or, as Marx writes, “specific economic form in which unpaid surplus labor is pumped out of the direct producers.” Marx argued that the means by which one mode of production transformed into another was the result of class struggle–the clash of force between major contending classes in society.

All previous revolutions before the rise of capitalism–no matter how popular, no matter how involved the masses were in propelling it forward–placed a new exploiting class in power and cleared the path for the full fruition of a new system of exploitation. Such were the English and French Revolutions–they broke the political power of the old landowning classes and replaced them with the power of the rising bourgeoisie–the capitalist class.

That class had already attained a great deal of economic clout before it gained political power. As Hal Draper writes, it was “able to build up its social relations gradually within the womb of feudal society.” As a result, it achieved economic dominance first before it was able to take political power. The capitalist class could “use this position of strength as a fortress from which to press…toward the acquisition of decisive political power.”

In Trotsky’s words, “The bourgeoisie may win the power in a revolution not because it is revolutionary, but because it is bourgeois. It has in its possession property, education, the press, a network of strategic positions, a hierarchy of institutions.

“Quite otherwise with the proletariat. Deprived in the nature of things of all social advantages, an insurrectionary proletariat can count only on its numbers, its solidarity, its cadres, its official staff.”

The working class does not have the option of building up its economic power in the womb of capitalism for the simple fact that it is not a property-owning, exploiting class. To implement its program, it must first set itself in motion “from below.”

But as Trotsky notes, possessing none of the advantages of the capitalists in their struggle for power over feudalism, it must develop its own leaders and its own organizations capable of uniting and leading the class in an assault on capitalism. The order of things is reversed: the working class must take political power first in order implement a program leading to the abolition of private property, class exploitation and inequality.

Some socialists after Marx tried to present this revolution as a purely parliamentary one. All that was necessary to achieve socialism was for the working class to elect enough of its own representatives to form a socialist government. The state, however, is not a neutral body standing over class society, but the state of the most dominant class–an apparatus of laws, bureaucratic institutions and armed forces whose purpose is to ensure the dominant class remains dominant.

It was for this reason that Marx argued, as he did in a letter to a colleague after the failed European revolutions of 1848, that “the next attempt of the French Revolution will be no longer, as before, to transfer the bureaucratic-military machine from one hand to another, but to smash it.”

To achieve political power, the working class must destroy this bureaucratic-military machine designed to serve capitalism, and instead create its own institutions of democratic power–local assemblies, workplace councils (or “soviet,” to use the Russian word for councils).

These kind of institutions have been created in many revolutionary situations, typically arising first as organs of mass struggle that gather and mobilize the forces of the working class and oppressed against the existing state and class power, but always having the potential to convert themselves into organs of popular rule.

But for this to come to fruition–for popular mobilization that take on a revolutionary character that succeeds not only in overthrowing a hated regime, but in replacing it with workers’ power–there must exist organizations of revolutionaries embedded in the struggle who are capable of moving the process forward.

Hence the emphasis placed by all Marxists, from Marx and Engels on forward, on the necessity of the working class creating its own political party.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

IN SUMMARY, what, for Marxists, are the key elements for understanding the revolutionary process?

The first premise of revolution today is that the development of the productive powers of labor engendered by capitalism has long since created the conditions of abundance necessary to abolish class distinctions. Capitalism has outlived itself. The second premise of revolution is the contradiction between the forces of production and the relations of production. As Marx wrote, the latter have become a fetter on the former.

The most glaring manifestation of this contradiction is the periodic descent of world capitalism into economic crisis. As Marx and Engels wrote as far back as the Communist Manifesto, these crises show that “[t]he productive forces at the disposal of society no longer tend to further the development of the conditions of bourgeois property.”

A crisis can create conditions for a revolution because it reveals the limits of the system, its bankruptcy, to the mass of the population who suffer from mass unemployment, hunger and social degradation–also because it can throw the ruling class into a confusion that puts its continued rule into question.

But crisis by itself cannot itself usher in a new society. As Trotsky wrote, “There is no that can be, by itself, fatal to capitalism.” That requires a revolution, and a revolution “presupposes the activity of living people who are the makers of their own history.”

While it is true that people don’t make history “by accident, or according to their caprice, but under the influence of objectively determined causes,” as Trotsky wrote, nevertheless, “their own actions–their initiative, audacity, devotion, and likewise their stupidity and cowardice–are necessary links in the chain of historical development.”

It is only in and through the mass action of workers–in the streets and at the point of production–that they develop the consciousness, the organization and the belief in their own capacity to rule society. A subordinate class that is constantly told it amounts to nothing has first to fight collectively and feel its own strength and solidarity in order to become a class capable of building a new society.

As Marx and Engels famously wrote, “[T]his revolution is necessary, therefore, not only because the ruling class cannot be overthrown in any other way, but also because the class overthrowing it can only in a revolution succeed in ridding itself of all the muck of ages and become fitted to found society anew.”

This understanding made Marx critical of the paternalism of moderates who thought that workers were incapable of liberating themselves. He also rejected the political methods of the revolutionary conspirators who would at worst substitute small-group actions for the masses and at best use the masses as a battering ram.

As Trotsky wrote in his History of the Russian Revolution:

The fundamental premise of a revolution is that the existing social structure has become incapable of solving the urgent problems of development of the nation. A revolution becomes possible, however, only in case the society contains a new class capable of taking the lead in solving the problems presented by history. The process of preparing a revolution consists of making the objective problems involved in the contradictions of industry and of classes find their way into the consciousness of living human masses, change this consciousness and create new correlation of human forces.

My 3 CR pre-Budget radio interview

This is the link to my interview on 3 CR this Tuesday morning on the fake Budget emergency. It starts 29 minutes in. You can click on the timer to get there.

We discuss among other things the fake Budget emergency, the class divide between spending cuts and not taxing the rich, and some of the leaked proposals for the Budget tonight.

Labour’s sell outs let Tories back in

The election result is a disaster writes Charlie Kimber in Socialist Worker UK. It’s a disaster for the NHS, for workers’ rights, for people on benefits, for disabled people and for the battle against climate change.

The Tories will feel they can unleash even sharper austerity, and loot even more from working people to hand over to the super-rich. They will intensify their scapegoating of migrants and Muslims.

They will seek to hand still greater powers to the police and be more ready to wage war abroad as well as at home. We need to understand why the Tories are still in Downing Street, despite all their assaults on workers.

Labour lost because it was too right wing, not because it was too left wing. Look at Scotland. There Labour has been the biggest party since 1959. But it was all but eradicated in political earthquake that ran through the country.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) went from six seats to 56 seats. This wholly unprecedented shift happened because the SNP was able to portray itself as to the left of Labour. Its leaders spoke out against austerity, Trident nuclear missiles, war and much else.

Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander acknowledged, “Scotland has voted to oppose the Tories, but hasn’t trusted Labour to do so.”

Scottish Labour united with the Tories to save the Union during the referendum. It then bizarrely chose a right wing leader, then humiliated him when he felt constrained to speak out against cuts. Now it has paid the price.

Poll

Ed MIliband saw his poll ratings rise when he offered some hope of change—an end to the non-dom status that enables billionaires to avoid tax, a higher tax rate for those grabbing over £150,000 a year and a mansion tax.

But the glimmers of progress and class politics were battered aside by the clunking fist of financial “iron discipline”, “not a penny more” of borrowing, and “cuts in the deficit every year”.

It’s not surprising that people were not inspired by a programme of more attacks on public services, more wage curbs, more jobs lost and a squeeze on health and education.

Labour’s leaders blamed migrants for falling living standards. Ludicrously, they ended up attacking Cameron for “unfunded promises” to spend more on the NHS.

Miliband and his circle have betrayed people by their pallid and right wing campaign. It will be a disaster if the supporters of Tony Blair and others now seek to drive the party even further rightwards.

Some of the best Labour results were in the seats held by the small number of the party’s left wingers. John McDonnell saw his majority rise by 5,000 as he won 60 percent of the vote in Hayes and Harlington.

Among a sombre set of results, it was wonderful to see Nigel Farage of the racist Ukip party defeated. He failed because Stand Up to Ukip and others campaigned against him.

But the threat has not gone away. Ukip grabbed nearly 4 million votes and came second in 118 parliamentary seats. We will need to keep up the arguments against Ukip and the wider racism and Islamophobia that it thrives on.

Candidates to the left of Labour were generally squeezed by the pressure to vote Labour to keep out the Tories and Ukip. In many areas the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) ran lively campaigns, and were well-received. But it’s hard to turn that into votes.

However, Dave Nellist won 1,769 votes in Coventry, Jenny Sutton took 1,324 in Tottenham and Glyn Robbins secured 969 in Bethnal Green and Bow.

Vote

In Belfast West, Gerry Carroll of People Before Profit came second with a tremendous 6,798—almost 20 percent of the vote.

Left Unity’s results were similar to TUSC’s and the election reinforces the need for the left to get it s act together—to campaign together, to organise together and to fight elections together.

The Tories will not have an easy time. They will now seek to impose massive additional austerity with a small majority in parliament. They will have to hold a referendum on European Union membership that will divide their own party.

They preside over a slowing economy with further troubles ahead. They have no legitimacy in Scotland.

Struggles and political explosions will break out—just as they did after the Tories took office in 1992 and in 2010.

We need to fan every flame of resistance—from strikes to housing campaigns, to the People’s Assembly demonstration on 20 June, to the battles against racism, to the mobilisations over climate change.  We need to challenge the Labour and trade union leaders who have led us to this disaster.

Now the trade union leaders who held back strikes and told people to put their faith in Labour have to be pressured to start fighting. And if they won’t we will have to do it ourselves. We cannot allow austerity to rule unchecked.

We need to understand what happened at this election, to agitate and organise, and to argue even more strongly for a socialist alternative to capitalism.

Postscript

Thousands demonstrated outside 10 Downing St on Saturday against the new government and its ongoing attacks on workers and the poor.

Hard-line socialist activists uwilling to accept Thursday's election result jostled with police outside Downing Street earlier today

Mother’s Day and asylum

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums imprisoned in Australia’s asylum seeker concentration camps.

Here is a GetUp! video on the issue.

 

 

Open the borders for refugees

‘ The refugee campaign should not accept anything less than the end of offshore processing and the immediate closure of Nauru and Manus Island. Asylum seekers processed in Indonesia and found to be refugees must be guaranteed timely resettlement in Australia,’ writes Ian Rintoul in Solidarity Magazine. He goes on to argue:

This is going to become more important as the prospect of getting rid of the Abbott government comes closer in the coming months.

In the run-up to the federal Labor Conference in July, more attention will be focused on what alternative the movement is fighting for.

Successive governments have closed Australia’s borders to asylum seekers. Without a demand to unequivocally “open the borders”, regional processing simply perpetuates the rotten political pillars that underpin the present policies of both major parties.

To read the whole article click here. Open the borders or regional resettlement?