ga('send', 'pageview');
John Passant

Site menu:

February 2010



RSS Oz House



Subscribe to us

Get new blog posts delivered to your inbox.


Site search


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)



The Greens support war criminal Obama

Barack Obama has approved more drone attacks, killing more civilians, in one year than George Bush did in 8.

The current President has increased the number of troops in Afghanistan by 34,000, guaranteeing more dead, maimed and dispossessed Afghan civilians in the here and now and the years to come.

He has spread the war into Pakistan with hundreds of thousands dispossessed and thousands dead.

Obama has escalated the dispute in Yemen, helping the dictatorship there kill civilians and combatants.

His troops occupy Haiti to bring it under direct US control.

Obama is threatening Iran for daring not to toe the US line. He wants to increase sanctions (an act of war) against the dictatorship and the people of Iran. 

The logic of US imperialism drives Obama to kill innocent people and those resisting foreign invaders, just as it drove Bush to do the same in the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

This logic doesn’t change from President to President. They are as much the puppets of the vast forces they control as are we the ruled.

It’s a bit like being Pope. It doesn’t matter who is in the Vatican, they still claim they speak infallibly, that abortion is a mortal sin, that women can’t become priests, that gay sex is an abomination…

In the case of US Presidents, although the public justification for war may change, the drive for war remains the same. 

One word helps us understand the current US attempts to brutalise the rest of the world. That word is China. 

The main driver of US foreign policy is the encirclement and engagement of China. US imperialism wants China to grow (and for the US to reap the benefits) but it wants China to bend to the interests of American capital.

Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, Yemen – all are tools in that game.

A few million dead in far away places like Iraq and Afghanistan doesn’t matter to the US ruling elite if that helps them achieve their goal of containing and controlling China.

The Australian Greens are all the way with Obama in this barbarous contest between the globally dominant imperialism of the United states and the wanna be top dog, China.

War monger Obama is going to visit Australia in late March.

Deputy Greens leader Christine Milne says that the Party ‘will anticipate President Obama’s visit to Australia very keenly.’ 

Bob Brown is even worse.

I reckon Australians will be very happy that Obama is in Australia. It’s a good thing. 

He will certainly get a better reception than his predecessor George W. Bush.

I will be very, very happy to see Obama in Canberra. It’s good to have all heads of state come here to our capital, not least and most of all, in some respects the one from our cross- Pacific relationship.

So let me get this right. George W Bush was  a bad man for killing Iraqis and Afghanis. So much so that the Greens rightly heckled him in the Australian Parliament and attempted to jostle the mass murderer.

But evidently they believe Obama is a good man for doing the same thing as Bush, as well as occupying Haiti, bombing Pakistan and Yemen and threatening Iran.

Hypocrisy thy name is Green.

Compare Brown’s fawning to the Greens in the United States. This is from their website, quoting George Martin, founding member of the Green’s black caucus. He says:

The Obama Administration has expanded the US’s military engagements and military funding. President Obama is sending thousands of more troops to Afghanistan, extending the war into Pakistan. His delayed plan for withdrawal from Iraq would leave as many as 50,000 military personnel to protect US access to Iraqi oil. Mr. Obama has continued to aid Israel in its military aggression against Palestinians…The policies of the Obama Administration and Democratic Congress have shattered hopes that we’d see a real change after eight years of Bush-Cheney.

The obsequiousness of the position the Greens in Australia have taken is not surprising. They are not radicals. They are defenders of Australian capitalism.

As Brown’s comments show, the Greens accept that the ongoing expansion of Australian capitalism can only occur under the umbrella of US protection.

Instead of welcoming mass murderer Obama, the Greens, as the biggest non-mainstream party, should be organising demonstrations against the criminal.

Shame, Greens, shame.

Readers might also like to look at Obama couldn’t really be a war criminal, could he?



Comment from Arjay
Time February 17, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Why are you so surprised John?The Greens see our humanity as a blight on the planet.The Global elites agree and thus for a long time have funded the Greens.The far left and far right have found common ground and that is their own survival.

Maurice Strong the ex secretary of the UN would like to see the world’s pop reduced to 100 million along with that lunatic Prince Charles.

The Rothschilds heavily finance the Green Movement and one of their prodegy is an icon for this movement.

The scenario for a Global Climate catastrophe was their excuse for carbon taxes to pay for their world govt of the Bush ilk.

Kevin Rudd at Copenhagen was about to sign away our freedoms by way of a New World Order instigated by the Bush dynasty back in 1991.

You are just beginning to join the dots.

Comment from Shane H
Time February 18, 2010 at 10:31 am

I have no brief to defend particular leaders except to say that in this case they share the illusions of the great majority of people in Obama (and in capitalism).

Of course they have also introduced motions to withdraw troops from Afghanistan (only this month) but that doesn’t fit your narrative, I guess.

Comment from Adam
Time February 18, 2010 at 2:55 pm

The Greens have actively denounced our contributions to all offensive military actions. If Bob Brown is welcoming Obama it is for the chance to meet with him. Obama has only been in office less than two years, compare that with GW’s visit where his track record was already appalling. I suppose Bob and the elected Greens are hoping for something different. Your point of view on Obama’s visit is narrow and inaccurate when it comes to what the Greens think.

Comment from Auntie Rhoberta
Time February 18, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Bob Brown might recall that President Obama is now tremendously unpopular in the US, just like his Second International confreres in Europe. Whether he’s Malthusian or Machiavellian I’m not sure. Perhaps he should settle here and join the Greens!

Comment from Arjay
Time February 18, 2010 at 8:17 pm

Obama has refused to rescind Bush’s Patriot Act which gives him the power to suspend the constitution and impose martial law.

Obama wants to bring in new presidential Order called “Preventative Dentention.” Even if you are suspected of being a terrorist,you can be gaoled without trial or legal representation indefinitely.

Obama has just raised the outrageous proposition of assassinating illegal combatants.Who is to decide the definition of an illegal combatant?

This is facism is it’s rawest form and the Obama lovers in Sydney will pay unquestioning homage to the new messiah just like the people of Germany did in 1935.

Comment from John
Time February 18, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Thanks Adam. What does condemning ‘all offensive military actions mean”? Does it involve support for Australian troops in the Solomons and East Timor?

I was also under the impression the Greens supported the war in Afghanistan, although Shane H says they have introduced motions to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. [JP instered later: Actually doing some checking, in 2001 Brown opposed Australian involvement.]

Have they changed their mind about Afghanistan?

In any event why treat Obama any differently to Bush – because you can talk to and reason with one war criminal and not the other? Sounds like this is a good cop bad cop distinction which is meaningless when talking about the commander of the largest killing machine in the world.

If somebody can point to the qualitative differences between Bush and Obama on war then by all means convince me my position about them is wrong and that talking to mass murder Obama makes sense while talking to mass murderer Bush doesn’t.

Shane H – not sure what my narrative is other than the search for truth as I see it.
Or maybe speaking truth to power, and the Greens elected representatives are clearly part of the Australian power elite.

Comment from John
Time February 18, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Shane H. The Greens policy in 2008 says: (37) The Australian Greens will… immediately withdraw Australian forces from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bob Brown’s motion in September 2009 said in part that the Senate ‘calls on the Government to debate the options for Australian troops in Afghanistan, including their return to Australia. ‘

That is somewhat different to moving a motion to withdraw.

On the latest motion Brown said: “Despite this Foreign Minister Stephen Smith is yet to publicly acknowledge any plans or conditions for withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“The human and financial cost of maintaining Australian troops in Afghanistan must be debated.”

Again that looks some distance from withdrawal unconditionally, although Brown does say their first motion this year was ‘to call on the Government to begin safely and securely withdrawing Australian combat troops from Afghanistan.’ Seems like an each way bet to me.

What was the position of the Greens when the invasion took place?

Comment from John
Time February 18, 2010 at 9:43 pm

Shane H, I found this in an interview in November 2001. Brown says: ‘We do not support Australian troops, young Australians, being sent to Afghanistan, where, so far, the toll has been in civilian lives, a mounting toll of men, women and children.’ So they are having a bet each way – opposing the war but talking to the man who runs it. But his bombs are killing the Afghans, just like Bush’s. What is there to talk about?

Comment from John
Time February 18, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Shane, nowhere can I find the Greens arguing for US troops to withdraw. The references I’ve found so far talk only about Australian troops.

Comment from Arjay
Time February 18, 2010 at 10:00 pm

John we did not have to invade Afghanistan or Pakistan to get a pipline from Turkmenistan to the Capsian Sea.

Zbigniew Brezezinski had good relations with the Taliban as they, the US ,financed the weapons and strategy which ousted the Russians from their country.

They could have brought education and prosperty to Afghanistan.The Taliban however had stopped the production of poppy seeds so we had a heroine drought in 2000.Afghanistan now produces 90% of the world’s heroine.

It is all about greed and power.The USA oligarchy can now make money on arms,drugs and we and the US tax payer foots the bill.

They can now sell arms to the Taliban who grow poppy seeds for the world market and now they can get access to the oil in Turkmenistan.

see http://www.tarpley/

War does make profit for an elite few.

Comment from Shane H
Time February 18, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Its a debate about parliamentary tactics – its party policy to withdraw troops and Brown called for a debate on it. Thats not having an each way bet. They have opposed the wars from day 1 as for not calling for a withdrawal of US troops what would be the point of this for an Australian parliamentarian. The Greens oppose the war which means they support the withdrawal of US troops but would asking Obama to do that make one once of difference?

As for talking to Obama well I guess they could organise protests but what would most people make of that. How would a denunciation of Obama seem in the eyes of most people?

I suppose my crack about the ‘narrative’ was a bit oblique since we really don’t know each other. I spent a long time in the far left so I recognise the style of argument – instead of focusing on real social forces in motion its all abstract so the most left-wing force in Australia which gets about 10% of the vote and is seen by most people as ‘extremist’ is for the far left – effectively the same as the ALP or LIBS – and small competing propaganda groups remain completely isolated so that aside from a ‘program’ what else is there? Parliament as we know is a bourgeois institution and parliamentarians then are part of an elite but the question is ‘whose interests do they represent?’. Do the Greens simply represent some fraction of capital?

Of course they don’t go far enough but that reflects the reality of the social forces – while I am a revolutionary socialist I think its important to have an audience for ones ideas – so the question is not what Bob Brown would make of all this but what our potential audience would say when socialists effectively say that the Greens are ‘pro-war’ when they aren’t or not sufficiently radical when the vast majority of people think they are extremists of some kind (which is stupid of course but thats how its seen). In the meanting the competing propaganda groups never grow about 300 students because you can only win people with these kinds of radical ideas when they don’t matter much to your practice.

Comment from Shane H
Time February 18, 2010 at 10:40 pm

Just wrote a length reply but it seems to have gotten lost. Have to be another day now.

I think the key question is: how does this look in the eyes of most Australians or even just the politically progressive ones when a socialist condemns the Greens as pro-war when everyone knows this isn’t the case.

MY point about the narrative was just that you do what everyone on the far-left does (myself included when I was there). Everyone to the right of you (and thats everyone except for the 1000 or so student in the competing propaganda groups) is seen as everything you are not – so if the Greens call for a debate this doesn’t go far enough, if they call for withdrawl of Aussie troops this doesnt go far enough, if they oppose the war in Iraq – then they don’t “really” oppose it in Afghanistan – and if they seem to, then that just can’t be because they are really part of a capitalist elite – so everyone outside the far-left is just a sell out in waiting or a dupe.

Comment from John
Time February 19, 2010 at 8:17 am

Shane and Adam

I was wrong on the Greens and Afghanistan. I have made that clear on the blog.

Shane – there is an element of truth in what you say in that I do sometimes create disagreements when in fact I am wrong.

I don’t think this is a case of sectarianism, although it may have been driven by over zealousness. The point I should have stressed is why are the Greens meeting with Obama when he is as bad as Bush?
The Greens could set the agenda here by doing that and educating the population to what appears to em to be a basic truth – Barack Obama is a killer just like Bush.

By meeting with him they give de facto support to the US occupation of Afghanistan, don’t they?

I’ll reply to the other points later tonight.

Comment from Chav
Time February 19, 2010 at 3:27 pm

“…so everyone outside the far-left is just a sell out in waiting or a dupe.”

But Shane H, the majority of people outside the far-left are not politicians or top union bureaucrats, and we are quite aware of the difference between these professional charlatans and the mass of everyday people.

If the Greens are fair dinkum about their opposition to the war in Afghanistan they should be mobilising a demonstration (s) against Obama. I’m sure the majority of people outside the far-Left will realise we aren’t a nascent Tea party movement if we dare protest the US President.

Comment from Shane H
Time February 20, 2010 at 1:21 am

I see the Dalai Lama met with Obama – I just that makes him pro-war as well. Since meeting someone must mean they you endorse everything they do. That’s why its best to associate only with bona fide revolutionaries.

Chav – I have no idea what you are talking about. I didn’t say you couldn’t tell the difference I said they couldn’t tell the difference. The majority of people will see the protests (assuming they get any coverage) as being anti-war (same as the Greens) which is probably not a pressing issue for them and if they are clearly anti-Obama then you will be seen as extremists. Now thats not what I think its what I would imagine they think. Thats unfortunate but thats reality. Of course for the socialist sects it will help keep the members together and compete away some members of other groups, if you’re lucky.

Comment from John
Time February 20, 2010 at 9:12 am

Shane, context is everything. Obama met the Dalai Lama (not the other way round) because they both have a common interest – undermining the Chinese dictatorship, but for different reasons. This meeting is part of the battle between the dominant US imperialism and developing Chinese imperialism.

As world war one and two show the end result of this imperialist competition is war.

it is the coming together of these interests that explains the meeting.

Just as arguably it is the coming together of the Greens and Obama’s interests which explains their fawning over this present US war criminal.

The Greens heckled Bush for his crimes, and there were demonstrations against him, which the Greens may have helped organise. Not sure.

So in that context why aren’t the Greens doing the same with Obama’s visit? by praising him they give support to him.

And as far as I can tell, the Greens couch their Afghanistan withdrawal language in terms of Australian troops out only.

Comment from Shane H
Time February 20, 2010 at 11:02 am

The Greens aren’t a sect so they don’t all agree – they are part of a movement which has diverse views. Some Greens would have been involved in organising those anti-war protests but its not an activist organisation or ideologically pure like the far left, its not directed from the top. Views on Obama in the Greens vary as they do in the general population. It beats me why they think he’s different but they do despite my best efforts. No doubt many are coming around.

In the meantime the question is – what would the effect of an anti-Obama protest be? I suspect even an anti-war protest would be tiny and have little impact but an anti-Obama protest would be sectarian. I wish it were different but its not. I guess we differ on how best to challenge the illusions of the mass of people.

Its part of how the far-left thinks that everyone outside their rank (usually outside their organisation) is somehow a ‘sell-out’ in waiting or ‘objectively’ pro-capitalist, so even if they say they are anti-war, even if their party platforms and actions in the Senate are anti-war, even though they were part of the protests, they are not REALLY anti-war (like us revolutionary socialists).

In what sense do you mean that Greens (you mean the leaders, the membership as a whole or as a movement?) and Obama have a ‘common’ interests. In war? I guess now Obama has come out in support of nuclear power that a Greens leader meeting them shows the Greens as a whole are not really anti-nuclear. And of course the next step is to say that since they don’t oppose capitalism (whatever that might mean in todays context) then they really aren’t serious about protecting the environment. Isn’t that the logic?

Comment from Arjay
Time February 20, 2010 at 11:30 am

There is no way that the USA Oligarchs will leave Agfghanistan/Pakistan until that oil pipeline to the Capsian Sea is completed.They have the Afghanis off side now and if they pull out militarily,constant sabotge will stop the project.

They had the Afghanis on side before all these 911 lies & nonsense and they could have had the Taliban guarding their pipline and bring Afghanistan into the modern era.

I cannot see Aust leaving Afghanistan since we live under the nuclear umbrella of the USA.Everytime the US goes to war, we follow like faithful unquestioning dogs.
Which Imperialist state do we want to live under.China or the USA.Most of us elect for the devil we think we know.In reality there is very little difference between the Chinese and the USA .The major difference is that the US people are armed to the hilt and have a fair idea who started this crisis.

Murdering people for profit seems to now be an environmental objective,since the Greens see people as a blight on the environment.

Comment from John
Time February 20, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Shane, that’s incredibly negative. Let’s see if anything comes out of the demos or the organising of them.

I can imagine some Greens being very uncomfortable about the fawning that Brown and Milne have done over Obama and agreeing with the general analysis that on foreign policy he is little different to Bush.

The quote in the article from the US Green Party makes that pretty clear and it is that sort of audience the revolutionary left is trying to have a conversation with.

That attempt may be unsuccessful, this time, but certainly to do nothing would not challenge the dominant ideas of Brown and Milne that Obama is good and talking to him rather than demonstrating against him is te way to go. I counterpose the two because that is what the leadership – talk versus demos – because that is what the the leadership of the Greens is doing – substituting talking for demonstrating.

If it is just a left sect fest, then it will be a failure. But how do we know unless we try?

Comment from John
Time February 20, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Shane, I think the leadership of the Greens has a common interest with Obama on US global ‘leadership’.

It is nonsensical to suggest they agree on everything, but since you raised the Dalai Lama and Obama it provided an interesting comparison.

Their interests intersect on one major issue – opposition to China – one from the point of view of US imperialism and the other from the point of view of the (former) ruling elite of an oppressed nation.

The intersection between the Greens and Obama seems to me be implicit in Bob Brown’s comment:

‘I will be very, very happy to see Obama in Canberra. It’s good to have all heads of state come here to our capital, not least and most of all, in some respects the one from our cross- Pacific relationship.’

That looks to me like an acceptance of the dominant role of US imperialism in the world.

Your views about left wing groups seem a little stereotypical – to down, anti-democratic.

That is certainly not the case in Socialist Alternative and if it were I wouldn’t be a member.

Write a comment