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February 2011
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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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US abandons Mubarak

Mubarak has unleashed his thugs to defend his regime. The fighting in Tahrir Square between the freedom fighters and Mubarak’s paid provocateurs has at the time of writing killed 5 and wounded over 1000.

The protesters drove the Mubarak forces from the Square. The killers have returned with firearms.

The only response to this brutality can be to arm the revolution. Rank and file soldiers have the guns and they have more in common with the freedom fighters than they do with the generals or Mubarak and his cronies.

The dictator’s decision to try to drown the revolution in blood has forced the United States to distance itself from him. While it hasn’t yet said Mubarak should go now, it has said the orderly transition (code for changing the dictator not the dictatorship) should begin now. 

After Mubarak’s violence against the peaceful demonstrators overnight, US Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was forced to say that orderly transition now meant yesterday.

American imperialism now realises that Mubarak does not provide a future for its interests. While the talk will be of democracy and the voice of the Egyptian people the obvious question comes to mind  – what the hell has the United States been doing in the region since the second world war but supporting pro-American dictators and keeping them in power. 

Why? Because they protect the interests of  US imperialism. The will of the Arab people could challenge those interests.

Ominously US President Barack Obama has telephoned Egyptian generals to discuss the crisis.

Plan B for imperialism and sections of the ruling elite in Egypt could well be military rule to oversee a transition to bourgeois ‘democracy’, but a democracy defending the interests of the current regime and its beneficiaries and perhaps buying off segments of the middle classes.

There can be no illusions in the Army. It after all has supported Mubarak totally during his 30 years of tyranny.

The problem for the US is that democracy threatens fundamentally US control of the Middle East, the most strategic region for US capitlaism in the world. Control of the region gives the US the ability to control the flow of oil to its potential imperialist competitors in ties of crisis, especially China. 

Egypt is an unequal society.Yet most of the wealth goes to the ‘top’ ten percent in society. And within that ten percent Mubarak and his cronies have looted billions – up to $40 billion according to one estimate of Mubarak’s wealth.

23 percent of the population, according to an Egyptian Audit Commission report, live below the poverty line. many more – up to half the population, are on the borderline.

Recent food price rises have increased poverty, and increased the threat of poverty for millions more.

There are 28 million workers in a population of about 80 million. They are paid wages that are ins some cases, according to an Egyptian comrade, below the poverty line.

There are massive concentrations of workers in textile factories in regions like Mahala and in the oil and gas industries. The world’s largest single workplace, with 28,000 workers, is in Egypt.

Unemployment is officially just under ten percent.  90 percent of those unemployed are under 25.

The Mubarak Government has implemented various neoliberal programmes and the economy s growing at over 4 percent. The rewards go overwhelmingly tot eh rich, and food price rises have actually reduced living standards.

There have been a series of strikes in 2007 and 2008 fighting for real wage increases and demanding the right to form independent trade unions.

The revolution has delivered – a new independent trade union confederation formed a few days ago covering millions. Here is quote from a recent press release from the federation – the CTUWS via the British Trade Union Congress:

Today, representatives of the Egyptian labor movement, made up of the independent Egyptian trade unions of workers in real estate tax collection, the retirees, the technical health professionals and representatives of the important industrial areas in Egypt: Helwan, Mahalla al-Kubra, the tenth of Ramadan city, Sadat City and workers from the various industrial and economic sectors such as: garment & textiles, metals industry, pharmaceuticals, chemical industry, government employees, iron and steel, automotive, etc agreed to hold a press conference at 3:30pm this afternoon in Tahrir Square next to Omar Effendi Company store in downtown Cairo to announce the organization of the new Federation of Egyptian Trade Unions and to announce the formation of committees in all factories and enterprises to protect, defend them and to set a date for a general strike.

 Mubarak believes that state violence will suppress the demands for freedom and food, for justice and jobs. It won’t.  In the immediate term he might scare enough people back into their homes, although more likely Mubarak’s violence will produce a hardening of the revolution.

That appears to be the case from reports coming in from Egypt. With the US abandoning Mubarak in favour of some military solution, it is difficult to see how he can survive without massive bloodshed in Tahrir Square and across the country.

Mubarak will risk that. He is a dictator whom 30 years of supreme power and slavish US support has blinded to reality, a reality of revolution against him.

In an attempt to bolster his forces Mubarak said he would die on Egyptian soil. The revolution should oblige him.

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Comments

Comment from Laptop Batteries
Time February 4, 2011 at 5:02 am

Egyptian Army is the answer, USA needs 2 have someone talking 2 them 2 get Mubarak out & start reforms. Only scenario that will work now.

Comment from juanR
Time February 4, 2011 at 12:37 pm

USA President Mubarak Obama has asked his counterpart in Egypt to go quietly and stop pretending that we care about democracy and the Egyptian people.

Comment from Ross
Time February 4, 2011 at 4:09 pm

This is going to be a very dirty fight.Israel it seems will throw all its resources behind the Mubarak status quo.
http://mycatbirdseat.com/2011/02/israel-places -resources-at-suleimans-disposal-to-protect-the-egyptian-regime/

Comment from Walter
Time February 4, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Ross, here’s why Israel might not want a coup in which the religious extremists sieze power.

“A spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt on Thursday evening repeatedly refused to commit to maintaining the peace treaty with Israel, or even recognizing Israel, if the Brotherhood becomes a player in the future governance of Egypt.”

If there is another middle-east war, it won’t be conventional. And the great Egyptian Army, routed in 1948, humiliated in 1967 and crushed in 1973, will be destroyed, along with millions of people.

You may not like reality, but the US push for transitional change is about saving a nuclear holocaust, not about capitalism, imperialism or any of these ideologically academic notions about ‘revolutions’.

The MB will lead to another war, and this time there won’t be anyone left to manage the socialist revolution, cause everyone’ll be eradiated!

Comment from Calligula
Time February 4, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Strike me pink, Walt, but you are a gloomy bloke.
Is that what you want or just your worst case scenario.

Honestly, if you cared for the common man you’d say so.
Something like – “Abdul makes the very best Egyptian cotton sheets so there’s no way I want to see him fragged” – would do.
Least then we’d know why you like human exploitation sustained forever.

Or do you want another episode like what happened to the ancient sites of Mesopotamia.
Do you want the pyramids reduced to rubble too?

To me it’s simple.
Somehow we are still allied with the seppos who have roared in, ghettoblasters blazing, into just about every locality that ever put up a sign – “Money welcome; Yankee go home”.
Seems to me a national character flaw.

Gained that impression when I saw LBJ cruising our streets in his Lincoln convertible as if he were the new king.
Was reinforced when Harold Holt went missing shortly after.

It might be fine for you, Walt, to go ‘all the way’ with those toolheads but it seems you don’t have to.

Myself, I’m already crosseyed so don’t have to be shagged by experts anymore.

Comment from Ross
Time February 4, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Walter,What business is it of Israel to interfer with the internal politics of Egypt or any other country?If Egypt wants the brotherhood of the Muslim faith to rule,then so be it.All countries on this planet should have sovereignity and self determination.

Isarel is loaded with nukes.No Arab nation can threaten it.

How do we know that our way is better?This corporate system of Governance which rule the West does not serve the people.It enslaves us via unnecessary debt.

Comment from Walter
Time February 4, 2011 at 9:20 pm

LOL Calligula. Sorry mate, while I do so enjoy my 1200 Egyption sheets, LBJ and Harold Holt are not relevant any more. Cold war is over.

But you’re right, those damn Americans. We should never have let them in to fight in the Pacific in ’44. Arrogant Yanks. Coming over here with MacArthur and his armies to fight the Japs. Imperialist bastards, they should have kept their ghetto blasters and McDonalds and capitalist rock and roll and left us to deal with Nippon.

I mean, we can’t cherry pick with the Yanks, can we? We can’t say, yep, we wanted you in ’44-’45, but not in Vietnam; Kosovo was mostly good, but Iraq not so. And why didn’t you intervene in Sudan and Ethiopia, that might-a been ok; and look, you helped bring down apartheit and install Mandella, so thanks for that, but now keep out of Egypt. Oh yeah, Haiti’s up the creek, so those millions in aid etc won’t go astray, but in general, fuck right of you seppos and leave us alone.

Comment from juanR
Time February 5, 2011 at 12:35 am

Dear Walter, you are so biased. Either that, or you are short on memory or reading, or both. I don’t mean to insult or belittle you, I just think you should read what you write before you send it.
“…you helped bring down apartheit and install Mandella, so thanks for that, but now keep out of Egypt. ” For heavens sake Walter there is a very much maligned Australian ex-Prime Minister who did more than any other western (significant) politician to help free South Africa from apartheid and you have already forgotten about him! As for the rest of your thesis, it is thoroughly untenable. What history books are you reading?
The Yanks (USA Gov. White House, Pentagon, CIA, Wall Street, etc) are not good. They can not help it, they stand for the worst of capitalism. So bad that they want to destroy European capitalism because it (European capitalism) has a small bit of “socialism” built into it. It is called “social welfare”. Things like universal health, education, unemployment benefits, old age pension, migrants’ rights and so on. You see, the Yanks would love all those things to disappear from the EU. To do that Wall Street keeps engineering “financial crisis” to try and force sovereign states like Greece, Ireland, Spain and so on to adopt economic policies that will destroy social Europe.
Our Egyptian brothers and sisters are fighting for freedom and democracy and the same social/economic policies that exist in Europe and Australia now, nothing more than that. And the USA, Israel, GB and some European politicians (Berlusconi, for example, if you must know) don’t like it. Why should these (“dirty”) arabs have the same benefits we have? What next, this is the thin edge of the wedge!
Dear Walter, in a previous comments I said to Arjay not to give you a “tribune” for your conservative rantings, I was wrong. But you are also wrong in your analysis of the role of the USA (you know the USA I mean) in world politics.

Comment from John
Time February 5, 2011 at 12:14 pm

What an ahistorical view Walter. The second world war was an imperialist battle, fought under the guise of freedom versus dictatorship. And it must be good having such a black and white view of America. For a start the US was built on slavery. Since the end of the second world war it has been the main purveyor of control throughout the world, often through invasions. It has of course invaded 193 countries to impose its will on them and warn off would be challengers.

Anyway, to imagine the US as a democracy loving country is to imagine they have worked hard for the last 30 years to overthrow the Arab dictatorships in the region. It is delusional.
As to stopping fascism, read Trotsky in some of his best writing on the rise of fascism in Germany and how to fight it.

Interestingly in my view a downwardly mobile middle class is what the Tea party represents and that is the base of fascism.

Comment from John
Time February 5, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Walter, I thought you might be interested in this piece on the US support for ‘democracy’ in Haiti. http://zcommunications.org/haiti-resists-us-pressure-announces-aristide-can-return-by-mark-weisbrot

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