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John Passant

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January 2011



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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)



Revolution in Tunisia

3 weeks of mass demonstrations and riots against the US backed Tunisian dictatorship of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali have bought the regime to the brink. Now strikes have begun in this impoverished country of mainly agriculture and small trade.

 Has the Tunisian revolution begun its relentless and necessary task of overthrowing the US backed dictatorship and opening up the possibility of  a new Middle East? 

The regime has little support, except among the armed forces and police, and even that support seems to be crumbling. Wikileaks has revealed that the US ambassador’s view is that the ruling clique ‘… tolerate no advice or criticism, whether domestic or international. Increasingly, they rely on the police for control.’ He called them a quasi mafia becuse of their corruption. 

Confronted with demonstrations across the country the regime has responded with repression and concessions.  The security forces have killed more than 50 and arrested scores. The dictatorship has closed down  all schools and universities. They have fired on demonstrators. They have tear gassed protesters.  The regime has imposed a 7pm curfew in Tunis, the capital, after fighting broke out there.

But still the people protest, still they fight back. For example on Monday police fired on demonstrators in a working class suburb in Tunis, the capital.

Their response? 

They threw stones at police before smashing shops and setting fire to a bank. They blocked the roads with burning tyres, set fire to a bus and two cars and also set fire to a local government office. “We are not afraid, we are not afraid, we are afraid only of God,” they chanted.

Clearly the repression has failed to deter Tunisian workers and peasants in their struggle for democracy and justice and for bread and a decent wage.

In response to the demonstrations the ruling clique are vacillating – as well as repression they are also offering concessions to the masses.

Tunisia’s communications minister has shown the weakness of thew regime when he said in response to the anger of the Tunisian working class and peasantry: ‘Our response to the demands of the young people is economic and social reforms and more opening up towards liberty.’

The President in a nationally telecast presentation promised 300,000 jobs. So what has he been doing for the last 23 years of his dictatorship? Oh, looting the country and imposing IMF and World Bank neoliberal policies which have further impoverished an already poor people.

Let’s hope it is too late for the workers and peasants to believe the corrupt US backed family Mafia in charge of Tunisia. Don’t back down. Don’t believe them.You have a world to win.

[Friday update: the dictator has now promised democratic reforms and promised he will stand down at the next elections, due in 2014. He is a liar and murderer. Don’t believe him. The main union group has called strikes in various regions until he quits. Good. Workers can bring this dictator down and begin fashioning a new society in Tunisia.]

The uprising began when a graduate student was arrested for selling fruit and vegetables without a permit. He set himself alight and died a week later.

Unemployment is officially 13 percent but is much higher. For male graduates a recent study estimated it at 26 percent and for female graduates about 45 percent. 

Most people re peasants and live in grinding poverty on less than $2 a day.

The self-immolation sparked protests for jobs and food which quickly  turned to political demands for an end to the dictatorship and its corruption. 

While workers and peasants have not benefited from economic growth, the ruling family has. For example The President’s brother owns much of the recently privatised media. The first lady is the Imelda Marcos of the Middle East. Instead of shoes she collects properties – billions of billions worth.

Because Ben Ali is a ‘moderate’, in other words he cooperates with US imperialism, and precisely becuase he to date has kept the Tunisian people under control, he has America’s total support. What does it matter to the US and the West – France as the former colonial ruler in particualr –  that he brutally suppresses his people? He is one of ours.

Ben Ali is not alone. All across the region there are US backed dictatorships and Israel ensuring control of the most strategic and important region for American imperialism.

Riots, demonstrations and strikes have broke out in Algeria over price rises. The government has backed down but the anger remains.

The brutal US backed Mubarak regime in Egypt has attacked demonstrations in support of the Tunisian uprising.  

All across the Middle East ordinary people have marvelled at the fightback against the Tunisian tyrant and begun to think about their own dictators. The rebellion in Tunisia has inspired them.

The Arab masses are awakening. The overthrow of the hated Tunisian dictatorship when it happens may be just the first step in a radical re-shaping of the Middle East  to serve the interests of workers and peasants there and ultimately even the liberation of Palestine.

Victory to the workers and peasants of Tunisia.

For a good Tunisian site have a look at Nawaat de Tunisie. The material is in French.

For some good but brief shots of a number of the demonstrations visit this Egyptian website.

Socialist Alternative has a good article called The revolt shaking Tunisia.




Comment from Ross
Time January 13, 2011 at 8:09 am

John ,see Nazemroaya paints very gloomy picture of how the planet is aligning forces for the next major conflict. The West is mad.It has caused a new arms race and now tensions are at an all time high.The USA is still considering using nukes against Iran against the warnings of both Russia and China.

The lunatic Western neo-cons have been caught out with the false flag event of 911 and now are spurred on to war by fear of having to confront betraying their own people.The Kleptocracy have robbed and shafted them and now want more through austerity measures.

They now want war as their escape and more power but the only way they can win, is a nuke war.They cannot win a conventional war against Iran,China and Russia.They cannot even defeat a few thousand Afghanis.

We need to put the pressure on our pollies since they do not realise the gravity of the situation.

Comment from Dave
Time January 13, 2011 at 11:00 am

John I agree, it is inspiring. However I think you are jumping the gun a bit there by labeling it the ‘Tunisian Revolution’ and so forth.

Pingback from En Passant » Rebellion in Tunisia; floods in Queensland – Have your say in Saturday’s Socialist speak out
Time January 14, 2011 at 8:29 pm

[…] Readers might also like to have a look at Revolution in Tunisia […]

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