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John Passant

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March 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)



Labor breeds Hansonism

She’s doing it for the money. That was my first thought when I heard that Pauline Hanson was to stand for election to the Legislative Council in New South Wales. 

Tax lawyers are like that. If there is money, think tax. I got to thinking that actually Hanson is in the business of getting state support for her votes. The money can be very  lucrative.

She stands for election regularly. She seems to have an intention to make a profit. There is system and business organisation involved. This is not some minor operation – the money is hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

So come on ATO, tax any state funds paid to Pauline Hanson for the votes she gets.

Of course there is a wider issue here. Why is Hanson still around and newsworthy?

The underlying social conditions that saw One Nation win significant gains in the 90s  still exist. There is a downwardly mobile and powerless middle class, or at least a section of that class; low unionisation levels especially in regional areas; longer and longer working hours; working class anger without outlet; politicians overtly and clumsily serving the interests of capital.

Labor in power federally and in the states and territories has stoked the flames of racism with its attacks on aborigines through the Northern Territory intervention for example and on refugees and its war on Muslims terror.

Certainly locking up traumatised refugee kids in concentration camps detention centres does nothing to challenge the systemic racism in Australian society; it encourages it and gives succour to the hansonites and those who would support hansonism.

Labor’s economic policies continue the trend to the monopolisation and concentration of big business and the shift in the share of national product to capital at the expense of labour.

The attempts by both the Liberals and Labor to co-opt One Nation voters have been successful to some extent but they haven’t addressed the basic concerns of those voters.

Hansonism is a crypto-fascist movement waiting to burst into life. Hanson standing won’t provide that spark.

Maybe there are lessons from France. There, the timidity of the Socialist Party and Communist Party politicians and their union leaders shut down any real fight against Sarkozy’s massive attacks on French workers.

The beneficiary of this class collaboration has been the fascist National Front.   The most popular politician in the polls is the leader of that party, Marine Le Pen.

In Australia the underlying social conditions and the ‘knock me down with a feather’ radicalism of the Greens, plus the numerical weakness of the revolutionary left, and Labor’s capitulation to capital and embrace of neoliberalism, all mean that a resurgent Hansonism (probably without Hanson) is possible.

The best way to ensure that doesn’t happen is to build the social and industrial movements and the revolutionary left and reclaim the traditions of struggle to better the wages and conditions of working people and provide a real alternative to Hansonism.



Comment from Tony
Time March 9, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Err, whatever happened to Hanson moving to the UK?

Comment from billie
Time March 10, 2011 at 8:08 am

I think you are right about the appeal of Hanson.
Had to laugh at the Macquarie Bank ad at the bottom of your piece

Comment from Phil
Time March 10, 2011 at 8:42 am

Isn’t that interesting. Another squirt from someone who has no idea.

I wonder if any of those who hate “hansonism” hjave ever thought of asking any of those who voted for the lady, why they did so.

I did because I was sick of seeing a continual increase in the handouts to the waste of space element in our society, by government, & Labor in particular.

This bloke probably get it more wrong, but it would be hard.

Comment from paul walter
Time March 10, 2011 at 9:09 am

I think the thing goes back to do de-industrialisation and the demise of the industrial left. The unemployment of the last generation or more has created a reticence by Australians to trust institutions and politicians, as previous commenters have said so Hansonism sprang from two things.
One a communication break up occasioned within labor thru the demise of the conduit , the Industrial left, which was prepared to fight for social justice and civil society and the social wage and commons.
secondly the side effects of neo liberalism in high unemployment and greater and some times forced mobility, against deteriorations in infrastructure as decision making was removed formations thru globlisation, has definitely led to a sense or feeling of disempowerment withing wider society. As a slightly older person than some of you, say the sense of a loss of a previous autonomy in my generation is rife even in the face of good material conditions in this fortunate oasis of a country.
I agree with some who say the defacto and informal alliance between provincial centre right and sections of the soft left haved slowed down or helped ameliorate deteriorating condition, as outside market forces have scrambled to gain control and access to our country and its wealth. Nationalism is involved but not so far in an unexpected way, but it remains a dream of the right to recapture control of information and media under a prospective Abbott government and to achieve government it has to come up with some thing circumstantial in the way of a huge beat up offensive involving nebulous jingoism and ressentiment since it has nothing substantative to offer or say on real issues.

Comment from Seamus
Time March 10, 2011 at 10:20 am

I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned anger without outlet.

Reading the comments section on The Age yesterday on an article about Baillieu’s back down on teacher pay was instructive. What shocked me, probably a little more than it should have, was the anger being directed against teachers by other members of the working class. They are angry (and rightfully so) about their own exploitation, but rather than directing that anger at their oppressors it becomes misdirected towards people they perceive as ‘having it easy’.

This false consciousness is at the heart of the appeal of reactionaries such as Hanson. People know that they are under attack yet they know not from where, people like Hanson peddle a solution. Problems of neoliberalism become misperceived as problems of globalisation and race.

Comment from John
Time March 10, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Thanks Phil. Actually the biggest handouts go to big business but I didn’t see Hanson campaign against them. She attacked the victims of capitalism, not the perpetrators of the problem.

Comment from Ross
Time March 10, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Hanson is used by the media to divide our nation.The left /right paradigm is used to confuse the electorate and keep us fighting amongst ourselves about the reasons for our oppression.

The real pariah is the banking system which creates money from nothing to equal our increases in GDP.Our toil and efficiences get expressed as debt rather than a tax credit.
That is the crux of the matter.

Comment from Peter
Time March 10, 2011 at 10:07 pm

How can she be doing this for the money when in NSW electoral funding can only be claimed after 4% and then only up to 80% of actual expenses incurred during the campaign? She doesn’t spend much during her campaigns, so she’ll get 80% of not much if she even hits the 4% threshold.

Comment from John
Time March 11, 2011 at 8:54 am

Thanks Peter. I wonder if other jurisdictions have similar limits on spending by relating it to actual expenditure? My understanding was that for the Commonwealth it is a dollar amount for the vote received over 4%. I must check. If so, my initial thoughts about the money are wrong. It could mean she actually wants perhaps to have the payment (assuming she gets more than 4% of the vote) described as assessable income since then she can claim the loss, perhaps, and offset it against other income. Unless the tax law prohibits that.

Comment from Seamus
Time March 11, 2011 at 9:43 am

Again, as I understood it that 4% threshold does apply at federal level but it only applies to expenses spent on the campaign.

I know the Greens have had difficulties with this in the past, having to estimate how much to spend on a campaign before the vote. You don’t want to overspend, but you also don’t want to underspend too much.

Comment from Tony
Time March 11, 2011 at 4:46 pm

@John, an interesting aside identified by Steve Keen is the “shift in the share of national product to capital at the expense of labour” is greatest toward financial capital (rentiers) rather than industrial capital. Keen has produced charts of this change.

Even worse than industrial bosses increasing their share, who still generally create real jobs, the shift is going to bosses who can make their fortune from speculation rather than investment and creating very few jobs. Exactly the problem now seen in the US.

Is it correct to say those who support hansonism are adherents of the boss/worker pact that upheld White Australia until trade with Asia made this overt policy untenable, coupled with those who subscribe to the nationalist movement resuscitated by Howard? Are there other dimensions?

I concur with your suggestion that we face a serious crypto-fascist usurping of the political process if the left fails to mobilise significant activism with a coherent message. That message must unambiguously debunk the garbage the reactionaries easily trigger within people’s anxieties.

Comment from John
Time March 11, 2011 at 9:01 pm

There has been a load of discussion and work on this financialization of capital tendency. John Bellamy Foster has written on it, and Callinicos’s Bonfire of Illusions has a section in it drawing on French and Greek writers from memory. Callinicos sees it not so much as the predominance of finance capital per se but of finance and productive capital working together and indeed finance capital often being an important part of the productive capital unit. This seems especially the case in the US.

Comment from Calligula
Time March 11, 2011 at 10:23 pm

I had believed that Hanson and frustration had bred Hansonism.
I didn’t get a chance to vote for Hanson.
Abbott had her locked up before I could decide.

Funny that so many reckon that Pauline is the Nazi?

Hansonism is about people who wanted to keep their lifestyles.
Hanson voters wanted to keep their means of self-defence and maintain a bit of self determination.
They wanted minimal governance and a chance to return to a dreamtime social contract.
They wanted to be able to disclude those they didn’t like from that contract which was their major fault.

Hansonism, naturally, couldn’t work once it was commercialized by careerists.
John Howard found the core principles too powerful and wanted them for himself.
That is why Pauline was incarcerated.

Pauline has every right to stand for office again.
No one can deny her that chance.

Whoever said a person with initiative when given a chance cannot learn from their peers.

That is what scares most politicians about Pauline – that she will learn from them, find even more disgust with them, and ultimately prevail against them and their corrupt purpose.

Yeah. Given the overall track record – I can understand why she scares them.

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