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John Passant

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November 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)



A tale of two walls

The fall of the Stalinist states across Eastern Europe was a magnificent victory for the people of the region and a step forward for humanity.

Time and again the working class challenged the right of the privileged few in Russia and its vassal states to rule over them politically and  economically.

The barbaric states that paraded as socialist had created their own gravediggers.

From East Germany in 1953, to Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968 and Poland almost continuously but especially from 1980, the working classes rose up against the brutal state capitalist dictatorships that the Red Army had imposed on them.

The Stalinist regimes had nothing in common with socialism. They were state capitalist. 

The state was one giant corporation, running the exploitative system and expropriating the wealth workers create.

And like their brother states in the  West , the state capitalist dictatorships suffered economic crises.  These, coupled with a history of resistance to the dictatorships, laid the groundwork for the fall of the Wall and ultimately the collapse of ‘communism’ across Eastern Europe.

State capitalism dragged Russia from a backward feudal country to an advanced capitalist one in the space of a generation. Such was its success that, apart from Japan, Russia was the fastest growing economy after the second world war until 1970.

It was that success which sowed the seeds of state capitalism’s destruction.

US imperialism watched in delight as its main competitor, Russian imperialism, collapsed in the early 1990s.  But it did so, not because it wanted democracy, freedom and justice for the peoples of Eastern Europe but because it saw its opportunity to become the sole power throughout the world.

US imperialism supported the revolutions for its own purposes but did not make them. It was the peoples of the region who did that through years of heroic struggle, in particular the long struggle of Polish workers for freedom.

Socialists in my tradition supported neither Russian nor US imperialism. We supported those fighting against the dictators.

We understood that the movements against state capitalism and the fall of stalinism at the hands of its workers, far from being an end to socialism, were and would be an important step (even if only in the long term) on the road to socialism.

The East European revolutions were a political step forward; economically however they were a step sideways from one form of capitalism to another.  As one joke put it: Everything the regimes told us about communism was a lie; everything they told us about capitalism was true.

Ronald Reagan famously told Mr Gorbachev to tear down his wall. Yet US imperialism is selective in which walls it opposes and which it supports.

Israel is building a wall that continues the long slow Zionist genocide against the Palestinian people.  The apartheid wall is in fact a reinforcing of the expanding Israeli fortress to enable it to continue its ongoing expansion into Palestine and the dispossession of the Palestinians.

The apartheid wall snakes through the occupied West Bank, fortifies Israel’s illegal settlements and cuts off Palestinian people from each other and their productive lands. It helps further turn the West Bank into a helpless and powerless Bantustan.

Israel is the armed wing of American imperialism in the region. So in the end, despite all the bluster from Obama about change, he accepts, as head of US imperialism, the ongoing destruction of the Palestinians as a people in the region.

So Obama will not do a Reagan. There will be no soaring rhetoric calling on Benjamin Netanyahu to tear down his wall. 

Instead billions upon billions of US dollars will continue to flow to Israel to prop up zionist apartheid and its genocidal regime.

It is in the interests of American imperialism to destabilise the region and thus control the flow of oil around the world, including to its main imperialist competitor, China. 

But there are major differences between the oppressed of Eastern Europe and the oppressed in Palestine. 

Economically the Palestinians do not have the power to destroy the Zionist dictatorship over them, and the Israeli labour movement  is, like the white working class in South Africa was, an integral part of the apartheid system.

The Palestinians cannot defeat Israel on their own. But democratic revolutions in the neighbouring Arab states have the capacity to fundamentally alter the power imbalances in those countries and challenge the rule of imperialism in the region.

Socialists supported the fall of the Berlin Wall and the political liberation of the peoples of Eastern Europe. We support the fall of Israel’s apartheid wall and the political liberation of all the peoples of Palestine.



Comment from Sid
Time November 6, 2009 at 10:12 am

John, I’m interested to know whether the Chinese imperialist system falls into the descriptions given of the European Stalinist states.

Comment from John
Time November 6, 2009 at 6:31 pm

Sid, have a read of my article Mao: from mass murder to the market ( It makes the point that the Chinese revolution was not a workers’ revolution but one led by a de-classed intelligentsia and peasantry. It imposed a version of state capitalism on the country.

Comment from Sid
Time November 7, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Thank you John. I read the article and agree with the concluding paragraph.

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