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John Passant

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February 2013



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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)



Forthcoming ANU talks: Why Marx was right

Capitalism around the globe is in crisis.

Recession grips much of the developed world. In the last quarter of 2012 the US economy went backwards. Unemployment, officially at 7.8%, is, according to some analysts, as high as 12%.  Real wages are at their lowest level in decades. Nearly 50 million Americans are on food stamps while the millionaires and billionaires get richer and richer.

Unemployment in the Eurozone is almost 12%, with the highest levels over 25% in Spain and Greece. Youth unemployment in those two countries is over 50% and almost 25% across the Eurozone.

The capitalist class has no answers. Austerity has failed to turn the European economies around.  It has pushed them into deeper recessions. Across the Eurozone real Gross Domestic Product fell by 0.3% in 2012.

The Greek economy has been in free fall since 2009 losing over 25% since 2008.  The British economy shrank 0.3% in the last 3 months of 2012. Spain’s last year fell 1.4% and Italy’s 2.3%

Obviously Australia is not Europe. Unemployment here is officially at 5.4% and growth is running at around 3%. However according to Roy Morgan the real rate of unemployment and underemployment in Australia in 2011 was 16.8%. Youth unemployment is on some figures much more than 20% and in some parts of Australia such as inner Western Sydney it is over 50%.

Australia may not be Europe but it is part of the global economy. As the Chinese economy flattens and in response to the Great Recession in Europe and the US the Australian economy slows down, predictions are that unemployment will pass 6% sometime after the 14 September election.

The economic crisis is a crisis of profitability. Marx argued that the very way production is organised under capitalism – more and more investment in capital relative to workers – produces a tendency for the rate of profit to fall. Only a massive destruction of value, or increased working hours, or savage attacks on living standards and jobs, can restore profit rates in much of the developed world. The human misery this is and will create in many of the developed countries is an indictment of capitalism.  

As extreme weather events increase in scope and intensity, as the Great Barrier Reef is threatened by mining in Queensland, as predictions for global warming of between 4 and 6 degrees Celsius by 2100 are validated, the barrier to addressing climate change is capital itself. Mickey Mouse solutions like carbon taxes and ‘real action plans’ do nothing to address the threat to humanity of profit induced climate change. The drive for short term profit overrides the long term viability of human life on the planet.

There is an alternative to capitalism’s economic and environmental crises. It is socialism, a society organised democratically to satisfy human need. That can only come about by workers setting up their own democratic institutions to decide what to produce not for a profit but to address our needs as human beings.

 That might sound like a pipe dream in Australia at the moment with very few strikes and with revolutionary socialists on the margins of political debate and discourse.

However the strikes and demonstrations across Europe right now and the rise of the radical left wing party SYRIZA in Greece to almost win government give a glimpse of the power of workers to change society and radically transform it.

The magnificent revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa that overthrew or are overthrowing the dictatorships – mainly US supported – have laid the groundwork for the next stage of the revolution, socialist revolution. In Egypt that second stage of the revolution is beginning to unfold as the Muslim Brotherhood in power shows itself unable to improve the living standards of its people. Workers as workers in Egypt are beginning to demand better wages, more jobs and the freedom to organise, demonstrate and strike.  

Stalinism is not socialism. The rise of Stalin represented the defeat of revolution. Mao and Castro are not socialists either, representing radical third world nationalist movements parading under the cloak of socialism.

To find out about these ideas and more, come along to one or both of the talks the Socialist Alternative Club on campus is holding during O week.

‘Why Marx was right’ 1 pm Wednesday 13 February Room G 50 Haydon-Allen Building

 ‘When workers took power: the Russian Revolution of 1917. What really happened’ 6 pm Thursday 14 February Room G 52 Haydon-Allen Building.

You can also check out our website,  Or pop in to see us at our stall on Market Day (13 February) or at other times on campus selling our magazine Socialist Alternative.


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