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Keep socialist blog En Passant going - donate now
If you want to keep a blog that makes the arguments every day against the ravages of capitalism going and keeps alive the flame of democracy and community, make a donation to help cover my costs. And of course keep reading the blog. To donate click here. Keep socialist blog En Passant going. More... (4)

Sprouting sh*t for almost nothing
You can prove my 2 ex-comrades wrong by donating to my blog En Passant at BSB: 062914 Account: 1067 5257, the Commonwealth Bank in Tuggeranong, ACT. More... (12)

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
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Sick kids and paying upfront

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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)

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Eurozone: bankrupt elites plot new assaults on workers

The eurozone crisis is all about bankruptcy. But this isn’t just economic. There is intellectual, moral, and political bankruptcy as well, argues Alex Callinicos in Socialist Worker.

Here are just three examples from last week.

First is intellectual bankruptcy. Every time an economist is interviewed on Radio 4’s Today programme, he—it is almost always a he—says Greece should default on its debt and leave the euro.

You can hear the interviewer’s jaw drop in shock and horror at this affront to the official line that the euro is sacrosanct.

Samuel Brittan headlined his Financial Times column on Friday of last week, “Why I would have voted no in a Greek referendum.”

Squeeze

Brittan helped to invent monetarism back in the 1970s, so he’s a suspect source. But in this case his reasoning is impeccable:

“The one form of adjustment that is made a condition of financial support is ever more severe fiscal austerity.

“Never mind that Greek national output is already more than 9 percent below its 2008 level and industrial production nearly 23 percent down.

“Never mind that unemployment has soared to 17 percent.

“The Greeks are being told by international institutions and creditor countries to squeeze, squeeze and squeeze again.”

Secondly is moral bankruptcy. Greek prime minister George Papandreou’s call for a referendum on the latest bout of austerity was a desperate manoeuvre that rebounded on its author.

But the visceral rage at his move displayed by the European Union elite—headed by Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy—is instructive.

The idea that Greek people should have a say on a package including lower wages and pensions, fewer jobs, worse services and higher taxes outraged them.

This is of course how the whole European project has developed—imposed from above, contemptuous of popular opinion.

But now Merkel and Sarkozy are pushing for greater fiscal integration in the eurozone.

This will lead to a further erosion of democracy. Unelected and unaccountable officials—even the European Court of Justice, if Germany has its way—will police member states’ taxing and spending.

Thirdly is political bankruptcy. The G20 met in Cannes last week.

This is the global economic coordination that has been expanded to include “emerging market” countries like China, India, and Brazil.

Supposedly the first summits of the G20 in 2008–9 saved the world economy. What did it achieve this time? Zilch. Of course, everyone is blaming the political turmoil in Greece for this. But this is an evasion.

Merkel and Sarkozy may be able to gang up on a small country like Greece.

But they aren’t really agreed on the latest “rescue” of the eurozone supposedly adopted by yet another EU crisis summit a fortnight ago.

The critical issue concerns how to raise the vast amounts of money the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) needs to prop up debt-ridden

eurozone banks and governments.

Hence the humiliating money-raising trip by EFSF chief Klaus Regling to Beijing.

In the old days, the US would have intervened to bang heads together and help find the money.

But with the US economy stagnant and Tea Party neanderthals making the running in Congress, Barack Obama lacks the political and financial capital to play this role.

Weakness

The Financial Times commented: “For anyone wondering what a world with diminished US capacity to lead looks like, the eurozone crisis is displaying Western weaknesses on a wide screen.

“A possible contribution from China to the eurozone bailout hit a raw nerve in Washington for precisely this reason.”

Eurozone leaders have also looked to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), already helping to police austerity in Europe, for money to prop up the eurozone.

But Obama, supported by David Cameron, blocked an increase in contributions to the IMF.

This is partly because they’re worried about domestic political flak and partly because they argue the eurozone could find the money itself.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Leon Trotsky wrote: “The historical crisis of mankind is reduced to the crisis of the revolutionary leadership.”

Today it is the crisis of capitalist leadership that dominates.

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Comments

Comment from Ross
Time November 10, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Obama and Cameron are puppets of the central banksters.Obama has expanded the Wars way beyond the aspirations of Bush under left cover.

The central issue John is the fractional reserve system of banking which counterfeits our worth and expresses it as debt.

This is why this system is in its death throes.The awareness is growing but the banking, military ,industrial complex is pushing for the invasion of Iran,to subdue the protests at home and expand their imperialism.

The invasion of Iran will herald WW3 and the implementation of sedition laws here + the patriot act in the USA to subdue dissent.

Comment from Calligula
Time November 11, 2011 at 5:57 pm

– Ross
Re yours –
Only if people like you and Mr Passant want WW3 to happen
Sorry people the whole show has gone pear shaped and I still find everyone distracted by what’s happening O/S yet too silly even to consider that they are being rogered crosseyed by opportunists at every level here at home

Comment from John
Time November 11, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Welcome back CH. I have been writing about a range of issues. Ross only talks about fractional reserve banking. The events in Europe will have an impact on Australia. Perhaps a catastrophic impact. So I write about a range of topics – some international, some Australian, but view them as all part of a wider reality. Capitalism across the globe.

Comment from Ross
Time November 12, 2011 at 7:44 am

John I like to attack the problem at the source.Prof Chris Busby has discovered radiation in Iraq coming from sources other than Depleted Uranium.Others have suggested that the USA was using mini nukes during shock and awe to maximise destruction.This could be why they are so confident and hawkish towards Iran,China and Russia.How do you have a limited nuke war?

CH I’m just trying to create awareness so it doesn’t happen.

An attack on Iran will escallate oil prices and deepen our depression.It may also bring Russia and China into the fight.What is spurring on these wars is the growing awareness in the West and the rage against austerity and financial fraud.They want to expand their power and escape us via war.We can stop them by refusing to fight and take control of our Govts.

China is being very quiet since the longer the delay conflict ,the stronger they grow.I notice that even the once hawkish Zibigniew Brezezinski and Robert Baer (Ex CIA) are saying that an attack on Iran is stupid.The elites are divided so create awareness.