ga('send', 'pageview');
John Passant

Site menu:

February 2009



RSS Oz House



Subscribe to us

Get new blog posts delivered to your inbox.


Site search


My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

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

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



Benbrika: thought crimes or terrorism?

Remember the front page stories about terrorists planning to bomb the Melbourne Cricket Ground?  All bullshit.

And that’s not just another of my rants. The sentiment (if not the words) belong to Justice Bernard Bongiorno who in Melbourne this week sentenced Abdul Benbrika and some of his supporters to long prison terms for their thoughts.

Over a 16 month period the cops collected 16,400 hours of recordings and undertook 98,000 telephone intercepts to prove that these men talked about jihad.  Jail for talk!

Howard’s anti-terrorist laws were and are political.  They are aimed at cowering all opposition (not just islamists) to the HowRudd way.  More importantly at this stage they are aimed at appealing to the fear of the other so prevalent in Australian society and raising that fear to the heights of the absurd to better control the fearful.

As part of this control tactic, in 2005 Howard claimed that the arrests had averted a planned attack (or weasel words to that effect).  Again this was bullshit.   But it served its political aim – herding the fearful into the camp of the righteous.

So now seven men are in prison for talking.  I don’t see the Righteous Right rushing to defend these innocent people or even opposing their imprisonment for supposed thought crimes.

Sending the seven down won’t be the end of it.  There will be other arrests of islamists for the same “crime”. The cops, (secret and not so secret) will push on with more arrests because the more “success” they have the bigger empires they can build.  The men who gave us the disaster that was Haneef can now claim Benbrika as a successful counterpoint.

Over time the target will change.  As the economic crisis deepens – UK PM Gordon Brown even called it a Depression – what were once regarded as “extreme” positions (like mine, for example) will become more understandable and appealing to some sections of society.  Similarly the Nazis and neo-fascists (even crypto-neos like Hansonism) can also gain a hearing.

The thought crime terrorism laws won’t be used against the fascists since they serve a useful purpose for the powers that run society.  Fascists become a battering ram for capital to smash the organisations of the working class – trade unions, social democratic and revolutionary parties – to drive down living standards and restore profit rates.

So the focus of these thought crime laws may shift, if the crisis worsens and ideas like mine gain a foothold, to the revolutionary left in Australia.

As someone whose phone has been tapped, none of this surprises me.   We believe in revolution. This is a mass democratic movement.  As Marx and Engels put it in The Communist Manifesto, “the proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority”.

How easily the cops could pervert this into some sort of violent revolutionist uprising to impose a dictatorship of the enlightened few.  Theoretically, and given the forces of reaction that inhabit our Stasi and other police institutions, I could be a candidate for political prosecution under HowRudd’s thought crimes.

The solution?  If Kevin Rudd really was a social democrat (ha!) he’d repeal these thought crime laws.  He won’t because they suit his political purposes just as much as they suited Howard’s.

We on the left must oppose the jailing of Benbrika and fight for freedom.


Write a comment