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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)



The flood levy isn’t progressive

The flood levy is designed to make workers pay for the reconstruction of infrastructure in Queensland.

It cuts in at $50,000. This is well below the average wage of $65000. In other words the tax will fall on workers.

It is true it will catch some well paid people. Some of these will be workers – selling their labour power and having little or no control over their work. Some will not.

But the claim that this tax is progressive because it imposes a one percent levy on those earning more than $100000 as compared to half a percent from $50,000 up to $100000  and nothing on incomes up to $50000 misses the point.

Labor aren’t taxing profits; by and large they are taxing wages.

Global warming is producing more extreme weather events, as the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned.  Global warming is caused by the manic drive for profit.

It is the polluters who should pay for rebuilding the homes of workers destroyed in the floods. It is big business whose profits should be taxed, not workers’ wages.

How about a super profits tax instead Gillard?

Readers might also like to look at No to a flood levy; yes to a super profits tax.



Comment from Dave Bath
Time January 27, 2011 at 8:34 pm

A one-off levy implies they think it’s a one-off event. No one-off progressive levy to respond to the financial meltdown means they expect them regularly.

Comment from Calligula
Time January 27, 2011 at 10:05 pm

John –
It has me stuffed.
We never had much of a life but at least we had something that passed as one once.
All Australian regimes utilize the same SOPs (standard operating procedures).
Bad news first – let the peasants gag on that for a few weeks then let off the ratchet for a few clicks ‘til they start breathing again.
And the silly buggers swallow it every time.
They won’t be told – they cannot be told – and there is no magic potion invented that’ll wake ‘em up.
When I started a traineeship at fifteen in 1969 I heard how we’d have the 35 hr week in short order.
I was mug enough to believe that.
Should have gone running the bag for Terry Lewis or taken up as a mercenary in Africa when it was offered.
Either way, whichever outcome I wouldn’t have to be here bellyaching to you.
I appreciate all these people who write in to you carefully explaining this little twitch or that to the economy but frankly – they haven’t a clue and do not give a goddamn.

Real slavery began when legal slavery was abolished.
That is the nut of the issue.
A way has to be found to motivate Australians to wake up to the fact that they have become worse than slaves.
Who the hell ever said that slaves need be taxed on top of a subsistence level existence.

Grantham, Qld –
A bloke there threatened with arrest for having more arrogance than an ‘uppity nigger’.
Imagine his nerve wanting to speak with Gillard and Bligh about what had happened to his community.
When are people going to wake up?

Comment from Calligula
Time January 27, 2011 at 10:37 pm

You asked Gillard for a super-tax when she’s the post coup puppet telling everyone why we can’t have a super-tax?

In the age of the CD it is highly unlikely that her audio tape will break despite the poor quality.
Difficult to argue with, that.

Then someone has to draft a new disc, have it approved, plug it into Joole’s PA system, check that it is formatted correctly, then run it often enough to be deemed reliable enough for a public run.
Jokes aside, the disaster began way before the floods.

Some way might be found to have a new disc cut.
Blackmail might work – not her but the bastards that set her up.
Same applies in Q with Bligh.
Any ideas?

Comment from John
Time January 28, 2011 at 4:30 am

Calligula, allow me some indulgence in responding, and going via Tunisia when you ask ‘any ideas?’. The events in the Middle East are historic. The masses are challenging their dictatorships. There is the hope for a new world of cooperation and democracy. It’s not there yet; but the possibility exists.

Ordinary workers and peasants fought back. One spark set alight the flame of freedom and the demand for food and jobs. The years of political repression melted away overnight because of the demonstrations and strikes. But the challenge to the economic rule of capital, the very system which makes them wage slaves will be much much more difficult. A bourgeois democratic Tunisia won’t be able to address the economic demands. The revolution will have to push on from that – to democratising the workplace – to do that.

Capitalism is unstable. It creates its own gravedigger. And while the ruling ideas are the ideas of the ruling class, the day to day experience of workers and peasants creates of itself subversive ideas. All it needed was one incident to inflame the middle East and in the case of Tunisia overthrow the tyrant.

This might sound far removed from Australia or the West more generally. But in 1968 in France, after years of dictatorial rule and low wages, students demonstrating over the right to visit dorms of the opposite sex sparked the biggest strike in history and challenged the rule of capital in France.

The thing that is missing in this discourse on the Middle East (and France in 68) is the existence of a revolutionary socialist party with an understanding of the tasks for the working class and enough roots in the working class to be able to make the arguments and to be heard.

I am trying, along with my couple of hundred of comrades, trying to build that socialist alternative ( today in Australia so that when the fire next time arrives here (as it will) there is that revolutionary organisation that can learn from and teach workers the way forward.

Comment from emma
Time January 28, 2011 at 12:00 pm

I subscribe to the guy from australia and his FFT economic newsletter at he is saying this levy will be not good for us… that guy has called many big events before they have happend, including the stock market crash in 2008 and the current financial collapse of the US. (currently happening) I found him from a friend last year, and he has some important work.

I am worried about my financial future. Is anyone else nervous out there?

Comment from Dave
Time January 28, 2011 at 1:26 pm

John, are you aware Andrew Bolt also opposes the Flood Levy..?

Comment from Ross
Time January 28, 2011 at 2:11 pm

The solution is simple.We have $20 billion in pollies/public servant future fund,$ 40 billion borrowed from China for the useless broadband.

Use this money to create a new National Govt Bank and we can fund our own infrastructure.

Our pollies are totally corrupted by the Corporate elites and nothing will change unless the people stand up and say enough is enough.

Comment from Calligula
Time January 28, 2011 at 3:01 pm

Your “Capitalism is Unstable” has me concerned. There is truth there but when devolved to first principles we have “greed is constant and universal”.

Probably a provincial attitude but extrapolating that we may conclude that “greed drives capitalism” and “the faces of greed are manifest as capitalism”.
These are known as ‘Calligula’s Postulates’.

If you profess that what causes instability is the merry dance surrounding that artificial construct ‘growth’ – then the ideal sinusoidal boom and bust cycles of well managed capitalism have attributes that suit the tycoons down to the ground.

Firstly the ‘bust’ part of the cycle offers a ‘heat sink’ of sorts – cools down ‘growth’ activity – offers an opportunity to cause unemployment, deflation (lower prices but less money in circulation chasing fewer consumer goods). Meanwhile lower prices mean lower material costs providing select industrialists the chance to stockpile for a spot of war production.

Naturally the war production can be put to nefarious use by all those coincidental unemployed.
Conflict, war, insurrection (what they call ‘domestic violence’ in our defence act) ‘police action’, whatever, either breaks out somewhere or can be artificially induced at minimal cost compared to the profits gained in the ‘boom’ that follows.

How does the ‘boom’ happen?
Every peasant spending their life, at great cost to the enemy, but finally prevailing?
Their ‘coming home’ then after much struggle finally finding work in a happy but war weary nation – mindless, dead-end labour but the kids’ll have it better, stuff?
No way Jose’ – they’re just means to an end. Can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, eh!

So of course we wait long enough for some excess population to be bled off but once achieved we go to the bank files, open up the chosen documents and add a few zeros beside the credit balance – in blue ink, of course.
That’s usually all it takes to get inflation nudging upwards again; then after a hard morning’s work our tycoons, confident in a job well done, can nip out for a good drink of lunch, a round of golf, or a visit to the nearest cat-house.

Oversimplification this might be but what motivates most of the population to envy capitalists and their lifestyle if what I’ve written is false?

Or so I first heard today most of the US allied Islamic regimes in Africa and the Levant.
The Great Game.
Putin found a few spare roubles, eh?
Or China?

France – 68
Saw some young men and ladies overturn and set fire to a few Citroens and consequently get the chop on TeeVee when I was a kid.
Clean cut, conservatively dressed and as stringy as only kids exposed to a wartime diet could ever be – more to that incident than them wanting a spot of joie de vie.

Now forgive me if I’m being naïve but I read some expectation into your writing that some pivotal change can be arranged here in Oz.
I put it to you that our ‘masters’ have become adept at stalling events in unimaginative but very effective ways.
Napoleon claimed his soldiers marched on their bellies and while our govt has the same attitude towards Oz. mine workers you’ll not see them supporting a supertax on mining profits or bickering about the odd levy. Same applies in a few other ‘select’ industries.

Meanwhile the proletariat of the southern states are efficiently being dispersed northwards in a constant stream superficially reminiscent of “The Grapes of Wrath”.
Here it is –
And like Steinbeck, I’d also like to put the tag of shame on the greedy bastards (in this case our lot of greedy bastards) who are responsible for this. (See unimaginative but effective, above)

Well, John, there you go. The Greats agree with me.

Comment from John
Time January 28, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Dave, yes, and Tony Abbott too, but they are not about really taxing the rich and wealthy through taxing profits, or even capital is he?

Comment from John
Time January 28, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Good point Dave.

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