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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)

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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
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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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Norway’s mass killer is sane, and driven by fascist ideology

Psychiatrist and author Tad Tietze examines the political lessons of the Breivik verdict in Socialist Worker UK.

The verdict on Norway’s mass killer Anders Behring Breivik has delivered some justice for his victims and their families.

But it has also dealt a blow to the mainstream narrative that tried to blame his actions on mental disorder rather than his fascist ideology.

Breivik killed 77 people, most of them members of the Norwegian Labour Party’s youth wing, on 22 July last year. The sentence means he will spend at least 21 years in jail, but in reality can be held for the rest of his life.

The court found him to be sane and legally responsible for the murders. This was a significant decision.

It went against the opinion of court appointed forensic psychiatrists, who said Breivik was suffering from “paranoid schizophrenia”. It also went against prosecution recommendations.

But the finding of sanity was the outcome preferred by most Norwegians, who could see Breivik was exactly what he said he was—a right wing extremist intent on sparking a war against Muslims, multiculturalism and “cultural Marxists”.

The initial psychiatric report was a travesty, putting psychiatric labels on language, beliefs and behaviours that are common in the far right subcultures in which Breivik operated.

Connection

This approach was also taken by many commentators and politicians. They sought to deny any connection between Islamophobia in the political mainstream and Breivik’s massacre.

From the Daily Mail’s Melanie Phillips to London’s Tory mayor Boris Johnson, right wingers queued up to pronounce Breivik mentally ill.

There’s a racial double standard here. Entire Muslim communities are routinely demonised for the actions of Al Qaida. But when the terrorist is a white, middle class male, he is painted as a “lone wolf” or “madman”. The implication is that the roots of his behaviour are nothing to do with the society he emerged from.

In Norway and elsewhere, we have seen increasingly strident Islamophobic and nationalist rhetoric enter mainstream politics. This has in turn fed the growth of hard right subcultures and organisations.

Breivik was not just linked to such forces in Norway. He also had connections to the English Defence League and more shadowy organisations around Europe.

His “manifesto” was in part composed of large slabs of text from right wing writers such as Melanie Phillips, Daniel Pipes and Pamela Geller.

This verdict is a blow to the Islamophobes who hoped to rehabilitate themselves after the Norway massacre shone a spotlight on their sickening propaganda. But it is not enough by itself.
Oslo, Norway: 40,000 people turned up in poor weather to sing the popular children’s song “Children of the Rainbow” at the Youngstorget square, April 26, 2012. The song, ridiculed by fascist terrorist Anders Behring Breivik during his ongoing trial, was sung by thousands more in towns across the country.

Oslo, Norway: 40,000 people turned up in poor weather to sing the popular children’s song “Children of the Rainbow” at the Youngstorget square, April 26, 2012. The song, ridiculed by fascist terrorist Anders Behring Breivik during his ongoing trial, was sung by thousands more in towns across the country.

The capitalist crisis is already creating social conditions that can help the far right grow in Europe. We can see this most chillingly in Greece with the rapid electoral rise of Golden Dawn’s neo-Nazi thugs.

All of this underlines that building resistance to austerity has to be combined with exposing and confronting those who share Breivik’s hateful beliefs.

Tad Tietze is a psychiatrist working in Sydney, Australia. He is co-editor (with Elizabeth Humphrys and Guy Rundle) of the e-book On Utøya: Anders Breivik, Right Terror, Racism and Europe and blogs regularly at Left Flank

Readers might also like to have a look at my article on this at the time of the shootings. Is Anders Breivik just John Howard with a gun?

Like all posts on this blog comments (see the link under the heading) close after 7 days.

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Comments

Comment from ross
Time August 26, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Brevivik’s father is a retired Norwegian Diplomat who has no contact with his son since the marriage break up.

Brevivik is just another psychopath who make up 6% of our population.The intelligent ones reach positions of power and they now have their fingers on the nukes trying to subdue Russia and China.

Adolph Hitler was not just another aberation.There are many like him in positions of power in our corporations and Govts.

Julia Gillard for example silenced Michael Smith by having him sacked from 2UE for telling the truth about her involvement in the HSU while working for Slater and Gordon.

Comment from peter piper
Time August 27, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Im still confused over this idiot; if he hated muslims, why kill Norwegians??

Comment from John
Time August 27, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Because the Labor Party – its youth wing was the scene of his island slaughter – supports and is encouraging the ‘Islamisation’ of western society. His twisted logic, not mine.