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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)



Is Stephen Smith a secret socialist?

Is Stephen Smith a secret socialist? 

Smith is Australia’s Labor Party Foreign Minister and accidentally released confidential details of negotiations with a number of countries recently.

The outrage was immediate.  He had single handedly threatened national security, damaged Australia’s reputation and so on ad nauseum, or so the papers and Opposition parroted.

Of course it was nonsense, but it got me thinking about the decree on peace by the Second All Russia Congress of Soviets.  This decree was reported the day after the October revolution in 1917.

It starts off thus:

The workers’ and peasants’ government, created by the Revolution of October 24-25 and basing itself on the Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’ and Peasants’ Deputies, calls upon all the belligerent peoples and their governments to start immediate negotiations for a just, democratic peace.

So what’s this got to do with releasing secret negotiations?  Well, the new Government wanted all the world to see what it was that their previous rulers had done behind closed doors. 

Little things like deciding the fate of nations with the stroke of a pen in a bizarre game of imperialist chess in which ordinary people are checkmated every time.

So among a whole range of other proposals for peace, the Second All Russia Congress of Soviets said:

The government abolishes secret diplomacy and, for its part, announces its firm intention to conduct all negotiations quite openly in full view of the people.  It will proceed immediately with full publication of the secret treaties endorsed or concluded by the government of landlords and capitalists from February to October 25, 1917.  The government proclaims the unconditional and immediate annulment of everything contained in these secret treaties insofar as it is aimed, as is mostly the case, at securing advantages and privileges for the Russian landowners and capitalists and at the retention or extension of the annexations made by the Great Russians.

What an alternative vision for the world – one where the dirty deals of the capitalist governments around the world are exposed for all to see.

A world where governments are accountable to their people for what they do.  A world where representatives can be automatically recalled by their electors in the factories and towns and villages and barracks if they don’t do what the majority want. A world where elected representatives are paid the average wage.

The dream died as the revolution failed to spread to Germany and France, and the counter-revolution in the form of Stalin took power as a consequence.

Stephen Smith should publish all our secret negotiations and treaties. He won’t. Revealing our dirty deals is not part of Labor’s reformist agenda at all. 

But it should be part of ours – real democracy, with real transparency.


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