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)

Sick kids and paying upfront

(0)

Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2013/12/03/john-passant-australian-national-university-8/ (0)

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Labor is the party that leads in attacking refugees

 

Anyone else notice a pattern here?

Gary Foley: the farce of recognition

Gary Foley has written the following on Facebook about the recognition campaign:

I have seen it suggested that the debate about constitutional recognition merely involves discussion about the wording of proposed change. The simple truth is that there is NO argument in Black Australia about the wording. That is an illusion generated by the tiny minority of mostly black middle-class advocates of recognition.

The fact is that a clear majority of ordinary Aboriginal people are NOT interested in constitutional recognition! It is regarded by most Aboriginal people as a meaningless token gesture that will do nothing to alleviate the appalling imprisonment rates, shocking health statistics and complete lack of land rights and self-determination.

Furthermore, anyone who thinks that any federal referendum held today that involves Aboriginal issues has any chance of being passed in this country today is deluding themselves. The fact is that since the era of Pauline Hanson most Australians now feel entitled to openly express the deeply embedded racism that has been a major defining feature of Australian society since Federation. Consequently there will NOT be a repeat of the result seen in the famous 1967 referendum. One does not have to be a clairvoyant to predict this.

So if you believe constitutional recognition is the way to go then dream on. It will never happen.

Islam and the Marxist approach to religion

In light of the Islamophobic rallies on the weekend, and the support socialists give to Muslims in fighting this oppression, Erima Dall looks in depth in Solidarity magazine at Marxism, Islam and religion.

She says among other things:

‘When Abbott and Western leaders attack Islam as the basis of terrorism, it is easy to see why resistance to anti-Muslim discrimination can also be taken up in religious terms. This is why defending Muslims against Abbott’s attacks is a crucial part of building the wider fight against Abbott, his anti-terror laws and the system.’

Click the link to read the whole informative article, Marxism, Islam and religion.

Increase the GST or tax the rich?

I wrote this – Abolish the GST and tax the rich instead – over 2 years ago. In light of calls to increase the GST rate from 10% to 15%, it remains relevant today. For non-Australian friends, the GST is our consumption tax – a Value Added Tax. I said among other things:

‘Instead of arguing over keeping a highly regressive tax or making it even worse, I have an alternative suggestion. Abolish the GST. Get rid of it. Send it to hell.

‘Replace the GST with a wealth tax and increased income tax rates on the rich and capital.’

Hit the link above to read the whole article.  While some of the figures need updating the general thrust is still right, I believe.

There are other options too, some of which I have written about elsewhere. Inspired by Jean-Luc Melenchon’s call for a tax of 100% on all income greater than 360000 euro I have also written we could tax all income in Australia greater than $250000 at 100%. That income is received by the top 1% of income earners.

And the linked article doesn’t address tax avoidance by big business. I talk about that in this very recent article in the current edition of Solidarity in an article called No end to profiteering and rorts at the top end of town.

If you want to comment on either article now hit the link to comments on this post under the heading.

 

 

Support the Melbourne Street Medic Collective to continue providing crucial first aid to our activists

/home/ozcrowd/public_html/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Amanda-SMC.jpg

 

The Melbourne Street Medic Collective are a group of qualified first aiders and medical professionals, who are also proud to be activists involved in progressive campaigns for refugee rights, the environment, and against racism and fascism.  We exist to provide physical and mental health support to other activists in these social movements, especially during protests and other actions, and often find ourselves bandaging a sprained ankle or helping someone get through a burst of panic when they’re in a crowd.

On Saturday 18th July, the Melbourne Street Medics were in attendance when an anti-racist demonstration, made up of students, trade unionists, pensioners, members of various community and ethnic groups and everyone in between, came together to oppose two small but hateful rallies of nationalist bigots and outright fascists.  The air of relative calm despite an extraordinary police presence became undone when police chose to deploy a very strong pepper spray indiscriminately through the crowd multiple times.  The Melbourne Street Medics, who self-fund all their own medical first aid supplies, were soon very low indeed.  Extra supplies needed to be bought immediately.  All in all roughly 100 people were treated that day, and we are asking you to donate!  This would help us not only resupply kits and offset costs for equipping new medics, but also assist us to afford training spaces to up-skill new and current medics.

To donate to help these heroes click on this link and hit the donate button on the right. Have your credit card ready to give as much as you can to these wonderful people.

 

medic symbol

 

Please help us to care for those who stand up for our rights.  We attend actions to provide preventative care, treat injuries and to respond to other physical and emotional needs. We help community activists to operate in the safest possible environment, from the planning stages through to debriefing after events. We also offer street medic workshops to assist activists prepare for future actions.  It is our aim to provide Victoria’s activist community with a free and high quality first aid and care service that meets professional standards of care.  We believe in empowering individuals and the wider community to fight for a better world.



How the funds will be used

$10 – buys a packet of bandages, one heavy-weight bandage (for sprains/strains) or electrolytes for rehydration
$20 – buys a pepper spray decontamination kit (including liquid antacid, gauze, gloves and eye protection) or a box of nitrile gloves
$22 – buys a basic small kit, which can be used by trainee Street Medics and as spares
$50 – offsets the cost of hiring rooms to train and upskill Street Medics
$100 – buys a tent to use as clearly designated treatment space


Rewards

While many crowdfunding campaigns offer material rewards for backers, such as T-shirts or badges, we don’t produce merchandise so are unable to offer these as rewards.  We are, however, more than happy to arrange a speaker or workshop, and we will happily arrange to facilitate activist training for physical and mental health where possible.  We are also able to send a massive shout-out to yourself, or your organisation, collective or group, on our page for your support and solidarity!

Please donate and share!

We have been overwhelmed with the outpourings of support, positive feedback and practical help that the community has extended us since the extensive and indiscriminate use of pepper spray against anti-racism protesters on Saturday 18th July.  Any donation, great or small, is much appreciated, and the solidarity expressed by those donations is just as important as the funds themselves.  Please share widely to help us keep those involved in social movements safe and healthy when we’re on the streets!


Of sharks and pepper spray: the ‘moanstream’ media in Australia

The top news in Australia today is a surfer being attacked by a shark. In South Africa.

None of the ‘moanstream’ media (as far as I can tell) mention the Victorian police pepper spraying medics who were attending a person whom the cops had indiscriminately pepper sprayed and who was having breathing difficulties and needed to be taken to hospital.

The fifty first woman this year has died at the hands of her partner but other than talkfests there is no mention of that either.

There is a pattern here. The capitalist media reports and emphasises or spins things that reinforce a capitalist world view.

To report, let alone investigate police violence against medics, or domestic violence, might undermine two key pillars of capitalist society – the police and the family. Because they are integral elements of the system, the violence inherent in them cannot be investigated and other than brief factual reports of deaths or injuries there will be silence. Worse, in the case of protesters against racism, the police violence will be painted as violence from the protesters.

 

On the question of the police attacking medics, on Saturday the 18th of July 2015 Melbourne Activist Legal Support (MALS) fielded a team of eight (8) trained Legal Observers at the Reclaim Australia and counter rallies that took place near the intersection of Spring and Bourke Streets in Melbourne’s Central Business District. In a statement they said, among other things:

‘A particular area of concern was an incident that occurred at the corner of Spring and Little Bourke Streets at approximately 12:43 PM. An ad-hoc medic triage station had been set up on Little Bourke Street near the corner. One patient was semi-conscious on the ground and under the care of the Street Medics and waiting for the ambulance. A physical altercation between rival protestors began directly in front of the medic station when Police rushed around the corner and immediately and without warning sprayed into the crowd of 60-80 people present. Street Medics and other volunteers who were trying to keep the medic triage area clear were severely affected by the OC foam as were most people in the area (including journalists and bystanders). The injured person receiving care was again affected by the OC spray.

‘According to Legal Observers present the OC foam was not directed towards individuals who were threatening police or engaged in violence but instead was directed over and onto the entire crowd of people present. For this reason the MALS Legal Observer Team identifies the use of OC foam in this circumstance as indiscriminate and therefore unlawful.’

The Canberra Anti-Racism Rally kicked their sorry arses

 

I have just got back from the Canberra Anti-Racist Network rally against the racists and fascists from Reclaim Australia. It was fantastic. There were about 30 of them and 150 of us.

We spoke about how they were responding to Tony Abbott’s agenda of fear and division and his talk of Team Australia. Demonising refugees, attacking Aborigines and belittling Muslims all combine, in times of a worsening economy, to give a spark to the racists and fascists and their simplistic and very very dangerous rubbish.

We marched to their corner car-park site and chanted at them. One chant was “Muslims are welcome, racists are not.”   We even proclaimed, very ‘politely’ but rather loudly, ‘racist scum, off our streets.’

We then played tag team with them, one step ahead, as they marched, protected by the cops of the ACT Labor/Greens government, up a main road entrance to Parliament House. The cops stopped us from following them.

We walked another way to Parliament House and stood about 25 metres from the racists and fascists.

Roxley Foley, from the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, stood very near the Reclaim White Australia group with a sign which read ‘not yours to reclaim’.

 

Photograph: Elise Scott/AAP

 

We chanted the usual stuff, and told the racists and fascists, rather loudly, that hate speech was not free speech.

Looking at the small rabble, we sometimes chanted: ‘You will always lose in Canberra.’

‘Losers, losers, losers’ echoed at times too from us in the direction of this sorry solitutude of racists.

We kicked their arse. It was a great turnout. Well done to the Canberra Anti-Racism Network and to all those who attended.

But we cannot be complacent. The material conditions exist for their growth. If the economy worsens (as appears likely) they may win more audience to their ideas. We have to continue the struggle and mobilise against them every time they try to win broader support.

The racists have been complaining about our ‘violence’.

Violence? Nonsense. There was no violence from us.

We chanted at them and made the precious little flowers feel uncomfortable. Good. The lessons of history show that driving this filth off the streets can stop the Nazis and their useful idiots from growing.

Oh hang on, the ABC is reporting violence at the Canberra protest. A Reclaim White Australia supporter threw a punch at one of us after the rally.

Reclaim Australia protester throws a punch at anti-racism activist post-rally in Canberra

 

And one of my comrades in Socialist Alliance has written that a racist tried to stab her with an Australian flag.

The cops have done nothing. I will leave it to you to think why that might be.

The racist who wrote the sobbing cry baby report below is also wrong about their numbers. They had thirty at maximum, even with a flown in speaker from Adelaide and the late arrival of a couple of skinhead fascists who tried to spark a fight with us.

He also doesn’t mention the split between the racists and the fascists as another reason for their small numbers, the same number who turned up at their last rally, despite the fact they had two months to organise. Our numbers grew five fold.  A great day.

 

Oscar Jolly's photo.

Melbourne Street Medics’ Statement on police attack on July 18 anti-racist/anti-fascist demonstration

Spot the different treatment anyone?

 

This is the statement by The Melbourne Street Medics Collective in response to the police pepper spraying them while treating a person with breathing difficulties.

Medics’ Statement on July 18 anti-racist/fascist Demonstration

Today, antifascist protesters converged upon Spring Street in Melbourne near the Parliament of Victoria. They went there to counter racist rallies being held by Reclaim Australia and the fascist United Patriots Front.

As usual Victoria Police was also in attendance, and in the days leading to the protest it had promised a large presence and random weapons checks in response to rumours of fascists bringing weapons and intending violence.

Victoria Police’s goal for the day was to facilitate Reclaim Australia and the United Patriots Front holding their rallies out the front of Parliament House. In order to achieve this mounted officers and members of the Public Order Response Team (PORT) complemented uniformed officers on the streets, and OC (Pepper) spray was deployed against counter-protesters.

Amongst those affected by the OC Spray was a casualty who began to experience respiratory distress, a not uncommon side-effect of OC spray and other such “less-than-lethal” chemical weapons. In the course of attending to this casualty and decontaminating others who had been affected, members of the Melbourne Street Medic Collective (including one pregnant woman) were attacked by police with OC Spray and kettled in a small space at the top of Little Bourke Street.

Footage of the incident will be reviewed as it becomes available but at this point there seem to be only two explanations for the deployment of chemical weapons against the Street Medics: some witness reports have indicated that Victoria Police officers were spraying the crowd indiscriminately and did not check who they were attacking until after the fact. Others have said that police ignored the shouts of the crowd advising them that someone was receiving medical attention and with the decision to spray all medics this action should be seen as a deliberate attack upon medical personnel and their treatment space.

As one of our medics has since remarked:

“Possibly more than 100 people needed to be treated today as police indiscriminately fired pepper spray into the crowd, including onto an injured man who was struggling to breathe, was losing consciousness, and was awaiting an ambulance. They also sprayed the medics treating him. Someone had a seizure, two were taken to hospital and a few were sent home (by us as medics) due to the after-effects of the pepper spray (namely hypothermia-like symptoms of shaking and an inability to normalise body temperature). It was absolute fucking carnage and it was completely unnecessary and provocative. The racists didn’t cop any of the pepper spray at all as far as I know, and they got a three-line police escort away from the area.”

Victoria Police should rightfully be condemned for the deployment of chemical weapons, the targeting of medical personnel, casualties and medical treatment spaces with such weapons and, most of all, doing this in order to facilitate a public rally of racists and overt fascists and neo-nazis. Any assessment of the actions of antifascist protesters will conclude that they were inherently defensive: against threats of violence and the use of weapons by fascists and nazis as part of the United Patriots Front, and against the violence of racism and systematic oppression on the parts of Reclaim Australia, the United Patriots Front and Victoria Police.

The officers in command of PORT and of the event should immediately be suspended from their duties and investigations launched into how and why chemical weapons came to be used, and used against medics, injured persons and in treatment spaces. These investigations should be conducted with the possibility of demotion, termination from employment and/or laying of criminal charges (such as for assault) as outcomes.

Melbourne Street Medic Collective encourages all witnesses and concerned persons to lodge complaints with Victoria Police’s Conduct Unit and the Police Minister.

Police Conduct Unit
GPO Box 913
Melbourne VIC 3001

Telephone:1300 363 101
Email: “PSC-POLICECONDUCTUNITCOMPLAINTSANDCOMPLIMENTS@police.vic.gov.au

Details of the anti-racist and anti-fascist rallies across Australia this weekend

Anti-racist and anti-fascist rallies are being organized across the country for Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th of July:

Saturday:

Melbourne – 18 July 10am at Parliament House
https://www.facebook.com/events/1600263403576857

Adelaide – 18 July 10am Parliament House
https://www.facebook.com/events/809797515778164/

Sunday:

Sydney – 19 July 10am at Martin Place
https://www.facebook.com/events/346452865546642/

Canberra – 19 July 11am at King Edward Terrace
https://www.facebook.com/events/817520005010391/

Brisbane – 19 July 10am at Emma Miller Place
https://www.facebook.com/events/682532705206336/

Perth – 19 July 12pm at Solidarity Park
https://www.facebook.com/events/893952217313262/

Newcastle – 19 July 10am at Customs House
https://www.facebook.com/events/367968573406429/

The real leaners

My article on the real leaners, using information about tax avoidance and poverty, will be published in the next edition of Solidarity Magazine. Out soon. Subscribe.