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John Passant

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August 2009



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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)



Are French workers in Seine?

This year there have been general strikes in France against President Sarkozy’s austerity measures and attacks on living standards; against unemployment; against the authoritarian state.

Those strikes raised working class consciousness and saw the development of bossnapping. 

Workers occupied their factories to demand better conditions (mostly better severance pay) from their bosses.

Then we had workers occupying factories and threatening to blow them up using the materials at hand unless their demands were met. 

Again the demands were often around redundancy pay.

Now a group of workers have threatened to disperse toxic materials into the Seine unless they win, you guessed it, better redundancy pay.

French workers have every right to use these tactics to win their struggles. In times of economic crisis the bosses only understand the power of the working class.

Imagine if in Australia the mainly female Pacific Brands workers bossnapped their female Chief Executive. 

This would frighten the trade union bureaucrats as much as it would the bourgeoisie.

Even better imagine if these workers occupied their factory and demanded that Kevin Rudd nationalise it with no job losses? 

Instead of the billions Rudd is conniving to give to the big polluters or spends on defence a Pacific Brands occupation would set a precedent and force Rudd to give a hundreds of  millions and then billions to workers to keep their jobs.

Yet bossnapping, threatening to blow up the factory and poisoning the Seine are indicators of a strike campaign that the conservative French trade union leaders have contained and destroyed. 

The strikes opened up the possibility of a generalised response to the crisis of capitalism; the machinations of the trade union bureaucracy destroyed that and coupled with the political and union weakness of the rank and file  have left workers accepting sackings and fighting merely over the price of the sacking, not the retention of jobs.

However French workers have tasted or at least glimpsed their power and could learn valuable lessons for the future – that it is not enough to kidnap the boss.

They need to go further and cut off the head of the bourgeoisie as a class.

No, French workers aren’t insane; they are learning slowly and painfully the lessons of history.


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