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John Passant

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December 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)



Stop work to stop the bosses’ war on the environment

We can make their polluting society unworkable and unprofitable.

We can win real action to address climate change.  We have the power.

Mass civil disobedience by a significant minority can stop the wheels of business, at least temporarily.

After the failure of Copenhagen, blocking coal trains on the way to port in Newcastle was a great symbolic action showing the bosses and their politicians what may lay ahead.

It will not be enough. The task is to turn the symbolic into the everyday.

We must turn the world upside down until the polluters and their politicians back down and begin the urgent task of moving to a renewable energy economy and creating hundreds of thousands of high wage green jobs for those displaced by the end of killer coal and other changes needed.

This is not about limiting temperature rises to 2 degrees centigrade. It is about returning to 350 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere from the current 390, a figure growing by almost two parts per million a year.

We stand in a grand tradition – Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela. It was the mass democratic and radical wings of their movements which took the struggle forward.

The task is urgent. As James Hansen argues we are approaching tipping points in climate change which will produce feedback effects whose catastrophic impacts can only be guessed at.

The Greens in Australia have an historic opportunity and duty to lead and build this movement.  I doubt their politics and their marriage to parliamentary niceties will see them do so. 

The key to successful action is as always the class that produces the bosses’ wealth. The entrenched conservative trade union leadership around the Australian Council of Trade Unions is an impediment to any struggle for real action on climate change. 

We must appeal to the rank and file unionists to force their unions to take action to save the planet before the bosses destroy us. Stopping their profits concentrates the bosses’ mind like nothing else and what before seemed impossible becomes a manageable task.

This is not just an appeal to workers in the polluting industries. It is an appeal to all workers to save our planet from the pollution that profit produces.

At the moment i Australia postal workers, Qantas workers and others are striking over pay and conditions. Let’s support those fighting for economic justice and link their fight with ours – for a future world where we will still have jobs and an environment. 

Industrial action over climate change will be illegal.  Defy their laws to save our planet.

This movement has to be a world-wide one.  While the fight begins here it has to spread across the globe if we are to be successful.

We in Australia must begin to build our forces, just as those in Europe and America and across the developed and developing world will and must do. We are for a mass democratic and radical movement to stop the polluters destroying our home.

It will be no easy task taking on the political and economic dictatorship in China and the economic dictatorship in the United States.  Only a strong working class movement can do that.

The task appears daunting. But to do nothing is to consign the planet to possible oblivion.

In the past ordinary working people have through extraordinary struggles re-made the world for their own benefit. We can do so again.

We have a world to win. Today.



Comment from Chris Dodds
Time December 24, 2009 at 2:01 pm

I note even if you choose not to that a Green’s Councillor on Newcastle City Council was one of those arrested for stopping the coal train. I also challenge you to compare your own history of civil disobedience and arreast with that of Bob Brown, Ian Cohen, Lee Riahannon and many other Green leaders.

Comment from Flower
Time December 24, 2009 at 8:08 pm

Indeed Chris Dodds – you present a valid point. Where have we seen good working men march in protest to protect the environment?

For 200 years we’ve been conquering nature. Now we’re beating it to death while good working men collect their pay and say nothing, complicit in the environmental carnage that prevails.

To date only the Greens have learnt that it is an altruistic heart and the intentions of the warrior that are more important than a label or obscene corporate profits.

And nothing remains safe from the imbecilic marks of a nation governed by the unscrupulous swines in the Labor and Liberal movements who suck up to the corporate eco-vandals while Australia’s CO2 levels and hazardous waste is out of control.

Mr Five Percent and the rest of the king motor mouths are incapable of providing any worthwhile plan to ensure the survival of this nation or beyond, yet even the biblical Noah was intelligent enough to build his ark before it started raining!

Comment from John
Time December 24, 2009 at 10:29 pm

That is true Chris. I wonder if that civil disobedience is before their election. Maybe not. But the point I was trying to make was that I think the Greens have an historic opportunity to build a mass movement to stop society continuing in the old polluting ways. But I think the wing of the Greens that has a cross class approach may not be committed to or interested in action and the more radical wing perhaps substitutes its actions for those of the majority. Now if this latter is part of a worked out approach to build a mass democratic movement, especially based on the working class, then that’s a step forward.

I am not sure that is the approach however. Certainly no statements I have seen to date from the Greens indicate that.

In that sense I think their marriage to parliamentary processes and their seeming lack of (or perhaps sotto voce?) class analysis may trap them in a round of actions which at best mobilise people as an adjunct to parliamentary discussions rather than mobilising a power that forces Rudd et al to actually undertake real action on climate change.

For example if Parliament is to vote again on the ETS in February where is the extra-parliamentary plan of action around that from the Greens?

Flower, I wouldn’t dismiss the working class as an agent of environmental change. The BLF’s green bans are the most obvious example.

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