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John Passant

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September 2009
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Miniposts

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
(0)

Sick kids and paying upfront

(0)

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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No solidarity with the Taliban

This article, also from the daily online Socialist Worker, argues that the way forward is not to support the Taliban but to build an anti-war troops out movement in the US and other Western countries.

NICK K. argues that socialists should provide “solidarity and support for a Taliban victory,” on the grounds that “we support the right of oppressed peoples to fight for self-determination…without caveat”  (See ‘Should the left call for a Taliban victory?‘)

It is true that the politics of organizations resisting occupation cannot form a principled basis for socialists to withhold our support, however diametrically we may disagree with them.

It does not follow, however, that it is possible to fight for self-determination irrespective of one’s politics.

In the case of the Taliban, ethnic Pashtun sectarianism and religious conservatism are practiced to such an extent that their ability to act as a genuine national liberation force appear fatally compromised.

Consider the case of expelled Afghan Member of Parliament Malalai Joya.

She denounces the “puppet” Hamid Karzai, accuses his government of warlordism, corruption, and drug trafficking, and calls for an end to the NATO occupation.

A fierce advocate of women’s rights, she links the current government and the Taliban, opposing both and arguing that the oppressive sexism practiced by both sides is rooted in decades of foreign interference.

By Nick’s logic, she should support the Taliban.

But the far-right Taliban cannot unite such fighters behind itself. Nick makes sweeping claims about the total absence of an Afghan working class or even a “progressive petit bourgeoisie.”

Then where does Joya come from? Or the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, which opposes the government and the Taliban?

The country is certainly devastated and overwhelmingly rural.

But are we to believe that there are no airport workers, no transportation workers, no teachers, no medical staff, no miners, no natural gas industry?

Claims about the lack of a working class in the poorest countries have become common on the left, and they are false.

As Anand Gopal has pointed out, even the Taliban’s rural support is strictly excluded from Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek and other areas.

Recently the government passed discriminatory legislation against Shias (whose rights Joya defends).

Clearly, the bigoted Sunni Taliban cannot capitalize on this to build resistance.

The Taliban are the most potent resistance force in Afghanistan today.

But with their current, deeply rooted politics, they cannot lead the struggle beyond stalemate.

Nor should the extent of their evolving “nationalism,” or the attenuation of their religious conservatism, be exaggerated.

Frankly, Nick’s comparison of the Taliban to Hamas and Hezbollah in this regard is insulting to the latter two.

While demanding immediate withdrawal of the U.S. and NATO from Afghanistan as our primary responsibility, we should give no “support and solidarity” to the Taliban.

The social basis for a genuine national liberation struggle in Afghanistan exists, in the countryside and the cities.

The best contribution we can make to its maturation into an active, organized, conscious movement is to build an antiwar movement here.
Avery Wear, Lemon Grove, Calif.

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Comments

Comment from Benjamin Solah
Time September 4, 2009 at 10:34 am

I think I’m more inclined to agree with this position than the one from Nick.

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