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John Passant

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June 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)



A Faulkner in the road?

John Faulkner’s cri de coeur for his beloved Labor Party to adopt a culture of inclusion met with derision from power-brokers, a sure sign of the continuation of the culture of exclusion.

Faulkner also made the point in the Neville Wran Lecture that the ALP had lost a generation of activists and risked losing a generation of voters.

This analysis misses a couple of important points. The ALP is a capitalist workers’ party, or more accurately today a CAPITALIST workers’ party. And it has responded to the stagnant and declining profit rates of capitalism in the developed world since the early 70s, like every other mainstream party of the Left (broadly understood) internationally, by adopting neoliberalism as its philosophy and practice.

Senator Faulkner of course has been in the thick of the neoliberal experiment for the last twenty years in the ALP. It is only now, as the polls and election results show a very low level of support for the ALP and members desert it, or potential members shun it, that Faulkner has begun to raise his voice.

Faulkner argues that the ALP listens more to people who aren’t in it than to people who are.

In one sense that has always been the case. Labor listens mainly to the ruling class. It manages capitalism.  

In the past the party, as the organised expression of the trade union bureaucracy and divorced from particular capitalists, has been able to rule for the system in general rather than sections of capital. The dumping of Rudd and subsequent capitulation to mining capital shows that may now not be the case.

At a simple level democratisation of the party and the return of activists threatens the ability of the ALP to govern for the ruling class. 

A democratic and inclusive party, at least nominally, might pass motions of support for massive wage increases for women workers to overcome the gender pay gap immediately, to tax the rich, welcome refugees, abandon the Northern territory intervention, begin a program of massive investment in renewable energy paid for by taxing the polluters, abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission, remove all restrictions on the right to strike, increase spending on public schools, hospitals and transport…

All the sorts of things a neoliberal ALP, or even a more democratic version of Labor, cannot and will not do.

We are witnessing the long slow death rattle of the ALP as a party of social democracy.  Its revitalisation is an impossible task.

It is not the  person selling the shit sandwich that is the problem; it is the shit sandwich.

Building another social democratic party in Australia – the Greens are not such a party, although many activists are swelling its ranks – would merely re-create illusions in the possibility of progressive reforms coming through Parliament.

Labor in power federally and in the States and Territories over the last 3 decades should nail that lie.

Instead of wasting time on the ALP, one option is building a socialist alternative, a group committed to building a socialist workers’ party in Australia to eventually see the working class challenge the dictatorship of capital and build a democratic society in which production is organised to satisfy human need.



Comment from PAUL WALTER
Time June 13, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Good example just on Adelaide news, a matter of days after Faulkner’s comments, Rann announces a minor privatisation (betting).
The press bag him at the conference, he sits there like an uncomprehending tree-stump and you can see that Faulkner may has well have talked to the wall, presuming he’s been sincere.
The only excuse for privatisation would be that it runs at a loss, contrary to neolib doctrine. Am not aware that’s the case with the tote: if they are going to be involved with gambling at least hang on to the revenues for programs.

Comment from Ross
Time June 14, 2011 at 9:42 am

In his defence John, John Faulkner is one of the few who has replied to my concerns about selling off our Govt banks and the need fix our finance system.

Perhaps he has awoken too late.There must be a few good men/women in the Labor Party who have not sold out to Corporate interests.

While I think that Labor is stuffed ,we need some oppositiion for the Coalition, otherwise greater economic slavery beckons.