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John Passant

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November 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 veneer of democracy

The coordinated and concerted attacks on the Occupy movement in the United States highlight exactly one of the issues the protesters have raised – the control the one percent have over the democratic process.

The one percent, brilliantly exemplified by multi-billionaire New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, have used their laws and their police to smash occupations across the country.

The Occupy movement was a stark reminder to the one percent, and more importantly the rest of us, that deep issues of inequality and greed not only exist but must be addressed. 

The movement shows that the current social structures not only cannot do that, but that they are built on worsening the greed and inequality. 

The ruling elite cannot allow this message to spread. It has to attack and shut down dissent. As John Gorton said many years ago, ‘we will tolerate dissent as long as it is ineffective.’

The Occupy movement was becoming effective in galvanising people’s concerns about their lives and the inability of capitalism to provide jobs, homes and adequate living standards. That is why the one percent want to and have shut down its most obvious symbols.

But they cannot shut down the misery, the unemployment, the foreclosures, the poor wages that are driving the anger of many people to rail against the system.

It is not just in the United States, and I might add Melbourne where 80 cops closed down 30 protestors in Treasury Gardens and tore down the indigenous embassy there, that democracy is proving a hindrance for the one percent.

The Eurozone is unraveling and to protect French and German capitalism, the 2 major economies at its centre, a troika of French and German leaders, the IMF and Eurobank have imposed unelected bureaucrats on the people of Greece and Italy to ram through vicious austerity programs.

As rescue packages go, it looks pretty poor. ‘To save capitalism we have to destroy it’ seems to be the prescription.

But it does show that if democracy stands in the way of the profit system then democracy is jettisoned.

The fury the markets unleashed when then Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou suggested there be a referendum on the austerity package he had just negotiated showed, as no amount of lecturing from socialists like me could, how thin the veneer of democracy that overlays capitalism is. 

The hide of the man in seeking democratic legitimisation for the attacks he was to unleash on the Greek working class to pay for the crisis of European profitability! His brief flirtation with democracy didn’t last long as the markets destroyed the idea, he lost his job and now a technocrat rules Greece with fascists in his government.

In Italy the same sort of process has seen the troika impose an ex-Euro communist and European Union Commissioner on the Italian people to impose their version of the austerity program.

These attacks on democracy have been ameliorated by the fact that both democratic governments in Greece and Italy were loathed, so for the short term at least the majority of people feel relief the politicians aren’t running the show. That will change as the cuts destroy more lives and livelihoods.

But being unelected either gives these leaders the chance to withstand such a backlash, or, and I think this is the main game, having imposed the austerity program, call elections on the basis that the attacks are now entrenched and permanent.

The Arab spring, the European summer and the American fall have all been about democratisation, about claiming or reclaiming the decision making process for those who produce the wealth from those who steal it.

As the European crisis worsens, perhaps engulfing France next, the temptation for the ruling class to reach for solutions outside the democratic norm will become greater.

Whether they do or not depends on a range of factors, including the depth of the crisis and the strength of our side. We should be preparing now to defend democracy. Every union struggle, every demonstration against the problems capitalism creates, every occupation deserves our support and helps build our strength.



Comment from Ross
Time November 16, 2011 at 9:10 pm

This is a good link John. James Corbett does some brilliant interviews and makes equally excellent insights into the reality that ensalves us.

Bob Chapman says that the EURO zone is about to change the rules and exclude the debt ridden PIGS from the EU.It will take over $ 6 trillion to bail them out meaning that the rest of the EU will have their currencies devalued via the counterfeiting scam of “quantative easing”.How stupid do they think we are?

Why are not the Central Banksters who created this problem taking responsibility?We have seen expoentional creation of money to bail out the scammers but the real economy of production is starved of money to function adaquately.This means that when the derivative market collapses,hyper-inflation will follow.

Gillard and the treacherous Greens are killing our economy with the lie of a CO2 tax,that gives even more power to the elites.When will the masses awaken?

Comment from juanR
Time November 20, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Sorry Ross I don’t agree with B Chapman’s analysis. Indeed I think he should read a little European history before he makes the comments he makes, especially about “cultural differences”, and so on. He sounds like he has just discovered that there is a world outside of the US of A?

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