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Keep socialist blog En Passant going - donate now
If you want to keep a blog that makes the arguments every day against the ravages of capitalism going and keeps alive the flame of democracy and community, make a donation to help cover my costs. And of course keep reading the blog. To donate click here. Keep socialist blog En Passant going. More... (4)

Sprouting sh*t for almost nothing
You can prove my 2 ex-comrades wrong by donating to my blog En Passant at BSB: 062914 Account: 1067 5257, the Commonwealth Bank in Tuggeranong, ACT. More... (12)

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)

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Della Bosca, prurience and profit

What sort of sick society forces a middle-aged man from power for loving a younger woman?

Australia evidently.

John Della Bosca’s resignation as Health Minister in the New South Wales Government over an affair with Kate Neill is typical of the state of politics under capitalism in Australia these days.  Spin replaces substance.

So what that a 53 year old man , facing his own fading political and masculine relevance, had a fling with a 26 year old women? So what that he was married?

Monogamy is unnatural.

Capitalism imposes it on us to give itself a relatively cheap way of raising the next generation of workers.  All the costs are borne by the family unit, especially working women.

This unnatural state often sees men and women yearn to break out of their chains, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. 

A furtive affair is one way of challenging the straight jacket that is the repression of sexuality under capitalism. 

Suppressing homosexuality and suicide are another.

But there is something more to all of this. 

Over the last generation or so the reactionary Christian right in Australia has made gains in terms of attacks on ‘unfamily’ behaviour. 

Bob Hawke not only had to give up the piss to become Prime Minister, he had to stop womanising.

Only after Paul Keating dethroned him could Hawke profess his love for a woman who was not his wife.

John Howard … no, don’t even think about it.

And Kevin Rudd?  He got pissed in New York and perhaps had a dancer sitting in his lap. Wow. 

But of course he rings his wife the next day and tells all.  What husband wouldn’t?

What hypocrisy.

This seems more like a plot from the Committee to Humanise our future PM than anything remotely interesting.

So why the creeping moralism?

Clearly the profound alienation that is capitalism produces a titillated response from some workers.

While prurience and Christian reaction have always been  important parts of the attempts of the bourgeoisie to control the working class, and accept the family as a ‘natural’ building block of society,  it is in the last generation or so that these pustules have begun to break out even more on the skin of humanity.

The Accord in 1983 and the destruction of rank and file control or influence over their unions saw strikes decline. 

As the class struggle fell from then on, the politics of the two main ruling class parties converged on the big issues – war, refugees, shifting the balance of industrial power and rewards even more in favour of the bosses.

This political unanimity of approach on how best to manage capitalism opened a space for the reactionary and Christian right to gain a foothold in the consciousness of the working class and the media, who have exploited this for their own profit.

As workers’ share of the productive cake has fallen to its lowest level ever, workers have increased their debt levels accordingly to regain their lost share, and at the same time been bombarded with messages of sexual commodification (and a general dumbing down of entertainment.)

Sexual intrusiveness is the credit card of capitalist morality.

The decline of class struggle over the last 25 years or so has resulted in an increasing intrusiveness into the lives of politicians and others. 

This reflects the growing powerlessness people feel over their own lives. So they may substitute the experience of others for their own participation in a barely glimpsed life of fulfilment and happiness.

A truly democratic society, one for example where there is automatic recall of elected representatives, would have sacked Della Bosca years ago for not representing the interests of the working class citizenry, not for falling in love. 

It would allow love and sexuality to flourish, not commodify them for the rest of society to vicariously enjoy the thrill of the chase and the fall.

Let Della lie.

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Comments

Comment from Arjay
Time September 4, 2009 at 2:13 am

Has Iguana Gate and “Don’t you know who I am,”have now no relevance?

We have in NSW the most putrid stench of corruption since Bob Askin.Why defend them?

Comment from John
Time September 4, 2009 at 7:01 am

Arjay I m not defending ‘them’. I think a truly democratic society would have swept this labor filth from power long ago. I am attacking the notion that politicians should repress their love and lust and of the society which imposes these restrictions on them.

Comment from Wombo
Time September 6, 2009 at 1:43 pm

To be fair, Della wasn’t forced from office – he jumped. True, the media coverage was already ballooning around the incident, in a manner not unlike you describe, but that kind of misses the point that he went *before* the storm fully hit.

And good move it was too.

Della quitting was largely a politically savvy maneuver. It’s first aim was to avoid further destabilising and tarnishing the Rees government’s already turd-brown reputation with a sex scandal from the leading possible contender for the premiership. Rees is now pretty much shored up until the election, unless something goes awfully wrong.

Secondly, he did it to rescue his own reputation, firstly as a “decent fella who made a mistake”, and secondly to remove himself from the sinking ship of NSW Labor under Rees. Now, Della Bosca can position himself as someone well enough removed from the government when it meets its fate in 2011 that he will have a chance at the leadership after Labor falls.

Della isn’t described as one of the best political strategists in the country for nothing (I also suspect that he’ll earn a fair bit of respect from a section of the electorate for being that “53 yr old guy who got lucky with a 26 yr old student from Newtown”).

If it weren’t for the fact that NSW was in anarchistic freefall, the media would not have responded quite so fiercely, and Della and Labor could have fended the issue off.

As it is, if he plays his cards right, I think Della Bosca could be the only one who comes out of this on top, so to speak…

Comment from John
Time September 6, 2009 at 8:58 pm

Thanks Wombo. I think you are right that it was a strategic decision on his part to jump , but I think that was also to avoid being pushed.

I suspect he is thinking of leadership say in 2013 for a tilt at 2015. His best bet might be an early election (with him moving to the lower house) and O’Farrell attacking working people mercilessly.

I wanted to explore why there appeared to be such obsession with his sexual activities and make the point that in a truly democratic society automatic recall would have seen this Government swept out long ago.

I wonder if there is a higher level of moralism now than a decade ago.