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John Passant

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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)



Put some class into International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day has a revolutionary history.

German communist Clara Zetkin put the proposal to hold a day of international solidarity among and with working women to an International Conference of Socialist Women.  The day itself was seen as championing the on-going struggle for better working, social and political conditions for women, in particular the vote.

As a consequence in March 1911 workers (men and women) in various European countries rallied to really begin the international day.

On 23 February 1917 (8 March in the modern calender) women garment workers in St Petersburg struck for bread and peace and in doing so sparked the conflagration that bought down the Czar four days later and saw the working class take power 8 months later.

Today in Australia IWD is a celebration of the rise of women to the top of bourgeois society as well as recognition that women still have a long way to go to be liberated. 

Indeed much thinking now seems to conflate these two distinct ideas so that the day has become one where liberation is seen as becoming a boss or manager.  The glass ceiling argument for example will get a run, little recognising that working class men don’t run factories or departments either.

IWD doesn’t differentiate any more between the head of Pacific Brands (on her $1.8 million salary) and the 1850 mainly migrant women on a pittance she has sacked.

The idea that these sacked Pacific Brand women have more in common with their boss because she is woman than with working class men is criminal and absurd.  The bourgeoisie and those women who have positions of power in bourgeois society celebrate the day precisely to paper over the class differences. 

We are not ‘all in this together’.  Ruling class women have a material interest in the present exploitative system continuing. Working class women have a material interest in overthrowing that system.

Women’s wages in Australia for comparable work are about 80 per cent of men’s.  A comprehensive paid maternity leave scheme (which the 1910 Socialist Conference supported) is still a pipe dream in Australia.

Indeed the bankers of Wall Street seem to have destroyed any chance of achieving even the pathetic scheme Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard mooted a few months ago.  The global financial crisis apparently means the scheme won’t go ahead.

Rudd ‘Labor’ has $35 billion for submarines but not even half a billion for a paid maternity leave scheme.  If we could turn babies into bombs then under Rudd and Gillard we’d have a scheme immediately.

Pacific Brands shows that women workers and women bosses have nothing in common. What better way to reclaim IWD than for Pacific Brands workers to demonstrate for their jobs and occupy their workplaces on 8 March this year? 

And for female and male workers around Australia to support them.

Like women garment workers in Russia in 1917 we have a world to win.



Comment from Sam
Time March 6, 2009 at 11:31 pm

I thought you might like to know that Amnesty UK is focusing on violence against women for International Women’s Day. We’re asking people to change their Facebook status, Myspace headline and tweet to raise awareness of the fact that each year, around 1 in 10 women in Britain experience rape or other violence. Check out

Comment from John
Time March 7, 2009 at 7:06 am

Thanks Sam

I recently joined Amnesty international after many years of equivocating. (Mainly because its anti-violence stance had meant it didn’t take up just causes like Mandela during his 27 years in jail. But that’s a side issue.)

I am planning to write something on violence against women prompted by AI’s campaign. The figures Amnesty international have on this issue are indeed shocking.

Comment from John
Time March 7, 2009 at 10:35 am

Here is a little part of what Amnesty International Australia says in its Stop Violence Against Women campaign:

Stop Violence Against Women

Violence against women is the most widespread human rights abuse in the world. Every day, thousands of women and girls are abused in their own homes, raped in armed conflicts, murdered by their families, attacked for speaking up and defending women’s rights.

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