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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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Australia Day

My local supermarket had them in stereotypical glory – tattooed, thonged, wrapped in the flag and holding a slab of beer.  The men were the same.

Australia Day is ostensibly about the foundation of the first colony yet ignores the genocide of the aboriginal people that flowed from that. For many aborigines and leftists like me, this is a day to remember the fallen and mourn.

Yet even for the nationalists who do celebrate, Australia Day has changed. It is now even more a celebration of white supremacy and intolerance.

The flags, the swagger, the tattoos (of the Southern Cross of all things, a disputed symbol of resistance), the incessant boozing, the air of superiority  – all point  to a degeneration in the way ‘we’ celebrate the national day.

The holiday is an attempt to unite workers and bosses in a shared history, a shared vision, a shared goal – the continued exploitation of the working class for the benefit of the bosses.

The system of exploitation and extraction of surplus from workers has seen major changes in my lifetime.  Taking a lead from Hawke and Keating, continued by Howard and Rudd, the  Australian economy has become integrated into the world economy.

The trade union leadership has capitulated to capital so that labour’s share of the national product is at its lowest since records were kept.

Australians have the longest working week in the developed world.

Unions, the defensive organs of the working class, are in serious decline, with only one in seven workers in the private sector being members. 

The lack of industrial struggle – strikes and other industrial action are at one of the lowest levels ever in Australia – has seen a corresponding decline in social movements and the political left.

This means the left as an idea, let alone an actuality, has no appeal to millions of Australian workers. To them it is invisible.

Hand in hand with this de-unionisation and de-politicisation of Australia has been a massive shift to individualism in the workplace and its acceptance as the dominant ideology.

There is no alternative pervades the whole political discourse.  Change can only be minor and incremental. The market and pre-ordained low pay rule. What’s good for the boss is good for you.  You are the author of your own success or failure.

We have lost our history, our sense of the past.

The genocide that Australia Day celebrates is airbrushed out of our collective memory along with the valiant and courageous working class and other struggles against the ruling class.

The move to the right of the reformist left has seen a forgotten voice arise, the voice of the unheard especially in places where union organisation is weak, like the regions and some outer metropolitan suburbs.

Without a left-wing political or industrial focus some of the exploited, the forgotten and the marginalised have turned to nationalism and its twin, racism, as crutches for the loss of working class community and working class strength in action.

Australia Day is an outlet for and expression of that powerlessness.

Australia Day is above all else a day of bourgeois celebration, of glorification of its own success.

The working class celebrates the day with them but in ways that might suggest a yearning for a different road, a new society.

Half a million workers took a ‘sickie’ on Monday to join with the holiday on Tuesday and make this a four day long weekend.

Bugger the bosses – we have worked our arses off for you for the last year and now it is our turn to kick back and relax and ignore the dictatorship of capital for a few days.

And some of the ways of celebrating – the booze especially – are inchoate attempts at escaping the cruel realities of capitalist exploitation.

In this they recall 6 February 1788 when the women landed in the fledgling colony and the rum ration was doubled. Bacchanalia followed as the convicts escaped their miserable existence for a day.

None of this is to endorse the day; it is to try to understand it and through that the mood of the working class.

We have a long way to go.

Readers might also like to look at my article from last year – Australia Day: a celebration of genocide.

Reddit Australia has banned me from submitting my own articles. In the interests of free speech and to challenge the circlejerk mentality that pervades Reddit Australia perhaps a reader would like to submit this article to them. I’ll be interested to see how long it lasts there.

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Comments

Pingback from Australia Day » Current News Trends
Time January 25, 2010 at 10:15 pm

[…] En Passant » Australia Day […]

Pingback from En Passant » Australia Day University Intro
Time January 25, 2010 at 10:33 pm

[…] here: En Passant » Australia Day tags: australia, black, february-room, great-video, happy-invasion, invasion, national, […]

Comment from Sid
Time January 26, 2010 at 2:09 pm

John,

I agree with your comments on flag waving, wearing, spitting, shouting… all things Aussie on Australia Day.

The sickie beat up prompted me to write:

So, there is outrage because half a million workers are “chucking a sickie” today (Monday 25th January 2010) to turn an Australian national holiday into a long weekend. What’s wrong with that?

I hear employers associations bleat about productivity of the nation being lost but they fail to see that productivity can be increased by allowing the workers of Australia to rest, relax and recuperate, returning to the workplace with a renewed vigour that they know is shared amongst their fellow workers.

Concerned, I tried phoning one of these “employer associations” on Monday only to hear a recorded message that they were closed for the day. Hmm…it seems one rule for some, another rule for others.

“Research shows”; it read in the newspaper, that up to 500,000 workers take a Monday off when it sits next to a national holiday on the Tuesday. Who does this research? Is it research funded by the employer associations? Everyone knows, that the consultant provides a report that falls in line with the aims of the organisation funding the consultant. That’s not rocket science.

Should Australia legislate to have national days occur only on the weekend, even if they fall on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday?
What do other countries do?
If the inhabitants of the USA have their 4th July celebrations fall on a Tuesday, do they take the Monday off?

Media reports state that the majority of workers who take the day off, are unionists. The last time I looked at my sick note, it said “Sid was sick with …insert disease/condition here…flu. It didn’t have a space for “if a unionist, please tick here”. So, how does the media know this? Also, if the workers are “alleged” unionists, isn’t that message saying that these workers have collective representation that has informed them of their rights, which is in fact, an endorsement for being a member of a union. Keep printing those “allegations”.

(I guess the poor down trodden journalists don’t get sickies).

Trackback from uberVU – social comments
Time January 26, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Social comments and analytics for this post…

This post was mentioned on Reddit by Passy: Without a left-wing political or industrial focus the exploited, the forgotten and the marginalised have turned to nationalism and its twin, racism, as crutches for the loss of working class community and wor…

Comment from Chav
Time January 26, 2010 at 11:27 pm

“So, there is outrage because half a million workers are “chucking a sickie” today (Monday 25th January 2010) to turn an Australian national holiday into a long weekend. What’s wrong with that?”

Well honestly, if they want us to whip ourselves into a nationalist frenzy, they could at least give us a day off to prepare ourselves…

Comment from Chris Warren
Time January 27, 2010 at 12:50 pm

There were several Invasion Day events around Australia.

This appears to be a good use for the occasion.

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