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John Passant

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October 2012



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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)



Will an Alan Jones boycott work?

I am ambivalent about the social media campaign against Alan Jones and 2GB. Not because I want to protect the racist and sexist broadcaster but because I don’t in the long run think the campaign will work.

Sure 2GB’s share price has fallen 6% on today’s trade, the first trading day after news of his ‘died of shame’ comments became public. Company after company is withdrawing advertising from his shift. A couple of regional radio stations have pulled the plug on Jones’s syndicated morning rants.

Now it may be that this means that the advertising goes to other shows on 2 GB. Or that the regionals were not that happy with the ratings Jones was getting. He seems to have flopped in Melbourne; his supporter base appears to be in Sydney – an older angrier middle class demographic threatened by change such as Asian and Muslim immigration and a fear of worsening economic conditions and slipping into the working class.

I suspect 2GB’s strategy is to ride out the storm. After all this is the man who has survived market shocks after urging people to bash Lebs and Muslims in the run up to the Cronulla riots and who in response to a caller complaining about Julia Gillard said ‘Yeah, that’s it. Bring back the guillotine.’  Five times he has said to put the PM in a chaff bag and dump her at sea.

Despite this he is still on air, and the advertisers were still with him until yesterday or today.

So while it is good that our anger with this sexist and racist is manifest, and is producing results, they are likely to be only temporary gains.

Take Woolworths. They had withdrawn advertising and disassociated themselves from Jone’s died of shame comments. They didn’t appear to have any problems with his bash a Leb comments or guillotine the PM aside or dump her at sea in a chaff bag call.

Nor do they have any problems with their  Community and Government relations manager, Simon Berger, a former Liberal pre-selection candidate for Bradfield, donating a chaff bag for auction on the night.

It shows where the real priorities of big business lie – getting access to Jones’s audience and the profit it can yield.  So they’ll make a few cosmetic changes in response to public anger and then when it all dies down go back to advertising on Jones’s show.

In 3 months time Jones will still be behind the mike spewing out his racist and sexist filth.
And the advertisers will be quietly there trying to reach his audience.

Indeed 2GB might calculate that once or if Abbott is elected Prime Minister he will reward Jones for his loyal service with regular discussions and so increase Jones’s audience. Advertisers will flock to him them.

On top of all that, imagine if the campaign against Jones works for a while. His audience will still listen to him. In fact they will be reinforced in their and his victimhood. Indeed his audience might increase in the face of the social media onslaught against him -a sort of rallying around of the troops, a gathering of the wagons to resist the attacks of we ‘educated barbarians’ and latté set.

Even if the advertisers leave 2GB there is any other range of right wing shock jocks they can spend their advertising dollars on, all of whom are spewing forth the same shit Jones speaks.

The thing about consumer boycotts is that without other action they don’t normally work. 

If they are only focused on one symbol of the system and not the system itself, even if they are successful the system that produces the racism and sexism continues.

The point is to challenge the source of the oppression of women, of racism. And that is the capitalist system.

The one class that has the power to do that is the working class, both now to reform the system to make it better for women and migrants and refugees and long term to abolish the source of racism and sexism.

That means challenging here and now the power of capital with the one power we have – withdrawing our labour.

We could take action to rid the airwaves of this filth through withdrawing our labour, imposing bans on the purveyors of hate and striking for better wages for women workers, security of employment and free child care. That is part of it.

Without exercising our power as a class the impact of a boycott of 2GB will be ephemeral.

It is only by having a vision of a better world for women and, indeed, for all of us, and fighting for it through the power of the working class, the one force capable of delivering it, can the likes of Alan Jones be sent to the sea in the chaff bag of history.



Comment from Kay
Time October 3, 2012 at 8:02 am

I’m glad the penny has finally dropped with you – your calls for boycotts and union action have done little more than give Alan Jones the publicity he craves and which is good for his radio show. His audience is relatively small but very loyal. And the advertisers will quietly return in time when this current beat-up is stale news.

Whilst it is great of you to promote equality of opportunity for women and girls, I notice that those societies which give the greatest opportunities for women overall are capitalist societies. Or perhaps you think women have equality in the Middle East Muslim countries? Although I’m sure that in the former Communist totalitarian regimes, women were as equally oppressed as the men were – so I guess that’s OK.

Education is a vitally important key to lifting yourself out of poverty. But by far the most important determinant of ‘success’ in life (whatever each individual defines as ‘success’) is determination, hard work and perseverance, combined with the absence of organisational barriers to success. Capitalist countries appear to me to best fit that definition.

Comment from Mary
Time October 3, 2012 at 10:37 am

The whole radio station should be boycotted by sponsors. it needs to be closed down as it is unaustralian. It does not promote a happy nation it only stirs up controversy. Do we need this sort of media today when there is so much stess and hatred in the owrld today?

Comment from John
Time October 3, 2012 at 10:43 am

Women only won the vote in most developed countries through struggle. I am arguing the way to balance against Jones and the rest of Te screeching banshees is to exercise our strength as workers. Our failure to do so since the early 80s has allowed debate to move to the extreme right. The battle for a better world for women, even for equal pay continues, and the struggle must continue. What the hell do the Stalinist state capitalist regimes have to do with this argument?

Comment from Kay
Time October 3, 2012 at 11:21 am

You introduced the idea that the capitalist system is the source of oppression of women. The former east Bloc communist countries were not capitalist systems, yet oppression was definitely rampant there.

I agree that progress is achieved through struggle – personal and organisational. But the chances of success of those struggles are much better under a capitalist system. And the validity of that premise is obvious if you compare the degree of sexual equality around the world versus which economic/political system is prevailing in those countries where sexual equality is highest.

Comment from John
Time October 3, 2012 at 5:59 pm

They were capitalist, state capitalist. The state acted as the embodiment of capital.

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