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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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Sick kids and paying upfront

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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)

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)

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France is our future

Millions of French workers struck on 19 March against President Sarkozy’s right-wing economic policies.

3 million demonstrated in cities and towns across France. Almost 80  percent of the population supported the strikes.

In part the strikers were inspired by the 44 day general strike in Guadeloupe which won a 200 euro increase in the minimum wage. Guadeloupe is an island in the Caribbean and is part of France.

In January 90,000 French workers lost their jobs. The latest predictions show French Gross Domestic Product dropping 3 per cent over the next year. 

Unemployment is 8 percent and will hit double digits soon enough. Forced part time work is rife. Sarkozy has proposed massive public service job cuts.

His stimulus package is aimed at boosting investment (i.e. a package for the bosses), not increasing the living standards and  consumption of workers. 

The Conservative Government has little left to buy off the discontent.

This means the pressure from below will clash with the needs of capital and the elite who run society.  More conflict is seemingly inevitable.

 

The hope for the French bourgeoisie lies with the reformist left toning down and derailing the struggles much as the French Communist Party did in 1968 by getting workers to stop their action and offering the bourgeois solution of elections.

In 1968 this changed the democratic focus from workers running their factories to the normality of capitalism and bosses running things. The reactionaries triumphed in a climate of demoralisation and passivity.

Although the unions are meeting again on 30 March to decide what to do it appears the leadership will not call any more nationwide strikes until May Day on 1 May.

The reformists this time around are offering local stoppages – which dilute the strength workers feel and can disillusion them – and a unified campaign for, you guessed it, European elections in June.

However ordinary workers may be seeing through this, at least politically. Olivier Besancenot, from The New Anti-Capitalist Party, (NPA in French), is the most popular Opposition figure and has been for some months.   He has politics similar to mine.

The NPA is calling for more strikes and occupations to defend jobs. They have called for a prolonged general strike (‘une grève générale prolongée’).

The unions’ modest demands are for an increase in minimum pay, taxing the rich and for the withdrawal of proposed public service job cuts, plus more stimulus spending aimed at workers.

The Government says it can’t meet these demands.  

The French Government said the same thing to Guadeloupe workers.  The prolonged general strike there won a major victory for them.

Guadeloupe shows the way forward for the rest of France. The NPA has taken this up.  

Longer strikes and factory occupations will force the Government to fight or back down, and may see the possibility of a new society, based on cooperation where people come first, arise.

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