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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)



The ACTU: a gutless, gormless gabble of gallnuts

The Australian Council of Trade Unions’ own internal advice shows conclusively that Rudd’s industrial relations laws are WorkChoices lite and breach ILO standards. (Ewin Hannan ‘ACTU pokes holes in work act’ The Weekend Australian May 23-24.)

Yet this is the same law that the agents of the ALP in the trade union movement campaigned for and praised when it was passed.  Why?

They are Labor lapdogs.

They share a similar worldview – a balancing between labour and capital in the interests of capital. 

Paid union officials are not workers but depend for their existence on the very division between capital and labour and so support it.

They accept capitalism as the grundnorm, which means that in the end they put profit before members. In fact they sell industrial peace to the bosses.

Some may want to ameliorate exploitation, but they all depend on the exploitative system for their economic existence.

This needs to be counterbalanced against the fact that every couple of years the union officials have to get voted back in.

As a generalisation, in times of class peace that is not too hard to do.  Even the defeat of one faction doesn’t see it being replaced with a left wing anti-capitalist version but merely another group of leeches on labour.

Indeed the natural inclination of officials is class peace, not war. They fear industrial  action as much if not more than the bosses. It threatens their ability to sell the rate of exploitation to the bosses but can at times assist in the bargaining over that rate.

The ALP is the expression of that union leadership ambiguity.

Labor is, as Lenin put it, a bourgeois workers’ party.  But that was 95 years ago.

It is certainly arguable that Labor’s links with the working class are now so tenuous that it can no longer be characterised as any sort of workers’ party.

I don’t think we have reached that stage, given the influence the ACTU and union leaders have in the Party.

The degeneration of the union movement began with the Accord and the victory of neoliberal unionism.  They have adopted the  trickle down theory of unionism:  ‘What is good for bosses is good for workers.’

That’s why they accept Rudd’s WorkChoices lite.

They ran advertising campaigns (such radical action!) against Howard’s IR laws, but accept the need for restrictions in the exercise of union power. 

Otherwise workers might gain real wage increases and defend jobs successfully, and destroy the whole basis of the settlement between the union leaders and the bosses over profit first.

So they have ended up supporting workforce laws which actually attack the right to organise, much like a rope supports a hanging man.

It is time for rank and file workers to begin the long slow process to reclaim their unions from the ACTU parasites on the working class.

Organising in our unions, building grass roots movements to defend wages and jobs, must be our first task.



Comment from Chris Warren
Time May 26, 2009 at 12:50 pm

This sort of sectarian diatribe is not helpful and does not show evidence of any real understanding of political economy in Western OECD economies.

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