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John Passant

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March 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)



Saturday’s socialist speak out

Asylum seekers are not the enemy. The real enemy is the dog whistling racist politician. Those who vilify refugees – the combined forces of the Liberal Party and Labor Party in Parliament – are our common enemy as the representatives of capital. We workers have more in common with the refugees on Nauru than with ‘our’ politicians.

Morrison’s comments about asylum seekers came on the back of one alleged sexual assault of a student at Macquarie University.

Morrison has been silent on the epidemic of sexual assault at Universities, but that epidemic involves white students. Where is his condemnation of the culture of sexism at St Pauls’ College for example? His silence reveals his real agenda, the vilification of refugees for crude political advantage. Is the Wildersisation of our politics proceeding at an increased pace?

Perhaps it is, given that the ALP rather than opposing this racist filth on principle, has joined the Liberals in the race to the racist bottom, making racist vilification, slander and even physical attacks part of the culture of life in Australia.

It is the Gillard Labor government for example that is deporting Tamil refugees back to Sri Lanka, the country that rapes and tortures Tamils, and covering up the brutal genocidal reality of that regime. The Labor government’s expediency, its dumping of any principles, is because it wants, like Abbott, to stop the boats. This is a policy of vilification, of abuse, of violence.

And all the while the 10.9% unemployment rate (according to Roy Morgan research) goes unnoticed and unremarked. The underlying anger remains but the real target for anger, the bosses and their rotten system that condemns millions to unemployment or underemployment, escapes from sight while we focus on a few thousand refugees and the non-existent ‘threat’ they pose.

Unions and a party of the left could challenge this by mobilising the working class in defence of refugees and against the racism of the Liberals and the Labor party. No fighting party of the left exists.

Unions and the left could address unemployment by mobilising workers to take over and run the factories for the benefit of society, not to make a profit. They could address it by mobilising against unemployment.

Instead unions are mounting an ambiguous campaign against 457 visas which puts ‘Aussie’ jobs first rather than fighting to make sure all workers on 457 visas receive award rates and conditions. Foreign workers aren’t the enemy; Australian bosses are.

Julia Gillard’s holiday in the West must be going well. Apart from vilifying refugees she has been pretty quiet. While unemployment on average might be 10.9% according to Roy Morgan, in Western Sydney it is consistently 2 to 3% higher than average. The real way to win back Western Sydney for Labor would be a massive jobs program rather than pandering to backward and racist sentiment in the area.

Last week Gillard released a $1 billion job package for the manufacturing sector. It won’t work. It is, like much Labor policy these days, spin and photo opportunity, to give the impression of action without actually doing anything real and concrete because that would cost money. It is King Canute stuff in light of the structural forces and the changes they are imposing on Australian society.

One way to defend manufacturing jobs would be to get rid of the profit motive and begin the transition to a fully renewable energy society. It is not profitable to do that udner capitalism, so it doesn’t happen. Such a society can only be structured around wind farms, solar farms and the like, all job creators.

Saving the environment and creating jobs is the future, not dirty energy and no jobs, which is what both Labor and the Liberals are offering us or will offer us.

Bradley Manning is a hero. He released documents to Wikileaks to expose the real and bloody nature of US imperialism.

US imperialism is now also openly supporting favoured elements of the Syrian revolution with military rations and medical supplies. Britain has gone further. It is supplying so-called non-lethal equipment such as vests, vehicles and night-vision goggles.

The knee jerk anti-imperialists of the Assad loving left will use this to push their support for the brutal dictator. There is a political revolution going on in Syria and the left must support the revolutionaries. There will be different groups in the mass movement against Assad. These includes secularists, liberals, revolutionaries, Islamists, moderates and the like.

The Egyptian revolution unleashed similar forces, united in their goal of overthrowing the dictatorship. But the revolution was not just about freedom; it was about food. It wasn’t just about justice; it was about jobs. And the failure of the Muslim Brotherhood to deliver a better life for the majority of the population opens up the possibility of a deepening of the Egyptian revolution and the development of class and class struggle as the way forward. If that were to happen it sends a message and example across the Middle East and North Africa, including to the revolution in Syria

Imperialism, having learnt the lessons of Egypt where it was caught unawares and backed Mubarak until just before he fell, is now positioning itself earlier to influence the outcome in Syria. But on the ground significant elements of the opposition to Assad oppose receiving aid from the West. Even if they did accept Western aid that doesn’t automatically make them puppets of the US.

In a different context the US funded Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan to fight the Russians.

The left must support the revolution in Syria against Assad.

Automatic budget cuts are coming into effect in the US after the two parties of capital could not agree on a compromise. Obama got what he wanted – deep Budget cuts and the ability to blame the Republicans. The cuts mean that cleaners on Capitol Hill, the ones who actually get rid of the shit, will have their pay cut instead of taxing the rich.

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



Comment from Kay
Time March 2, 2013 at 8:55 am

I assume you’ve noticed that every week or so there appears to be some Labor ‘buzz word’ that gets parroted ad nauseum by every Labor apparatchik – and others. This week it’s ‘dog whistle’! Although I do seem to recall it has always been a favourite of you and your acolites.

On another issue – you are clearly in a bit of a bind now – socialists and the US both supporting the revolutionaries in Syria! What next?

Oh, BTW, do you have solar panels on your roof? That’s a good start towards a renewable energy future. At least it is something that individual home-owners can do. Here in Queensland, where there is a fairly high proportion of homes with solar units (from 10% – 20% overall, to 50% in some areas), several units in its coal-fired power stations have been ‘mothballed’. The reasons? “Key drivers of the decrease in average demand include milder weather conditions, increased energy efficiency in the residential and industrial sectors, increased solar photovoltaic penetration and demand-side management initiatives.” So things are improving slowly!

Comment from John
Time March 2, 2013 at 11:03 am

No bind. I support the Syrian revolution and the Syrian revolutionaries. That’s the whole point of my argument.

Comment from Kay
Time March 2, 2013 at 11:08 am

I know. But how rare to be in congruence with the US!

Comment from John
Time March 2, 2013 at 4:48 pm

The US doesn’t support the revolution. It wants to protect its interests in the region.

Comment from Chris Warren
Time March 2, 2013 at 8:51 pm

presents a

FRIDAY 8th MARCH 2013 commencing at 7.30pm



The night aims to raise money in support of two of Community Radio 2XX’s longest running Folk

2XX gives listeners a music, verse and song interpretation of history, news, politics and current
affairs. REBEL CHORUS can be heard every Saturday from 10am til 12pm.
LARK IN THE MORNING can be heard every every Sunday from 8am til 10.30am. Lark brings you
folk music from the traditional to the new, as well as news and information about folk happenings in
our region.

The FUNDRAISING NIGHT will feature performances from:-

MATTY ELLIS (from the Ellis Collective)
PETE WEST (from 2XX) who will introduce a local harmonica ensemble.
MOOCHERS Inc. who play trad jazz for people who hate trad jazz. Moochers are the least
respectable members of respected Canberra bands like Brass Knuckle Band, Rafe and the Well
Dressed, Spectrum Big Band and Goji Berry Jam.

In between all the great music will be raffles, auction of some really big items, games and a garage
sale of assorted CDs – all to raise money for these 2 great 2XX folk programs.

The BOWLO’s renowned BISTRO will open from 6pm.
Full bar facilities will operate.
Free Tea and coffee are available in the function room.

More info contact: MERRY MUSE on

Comment from Kay
Time March 3, 2013 at 7:14 am

Talking about music:

During the 1956 shearers’ strike, my parents and many other members of the local Communist Party, staged a performance of the wonderful Australian musical, ‘Reedy River’. It was directed by Prof Harry Heseltine (who also played a leading part in the play). The play/musical is set during the great shearers’ strike of 1891. My father was on strike at the time – he was a shearer and the local AWU organiser. I still have the recording of the songs in the performance (an old 33rpm vinyl record) and sometimes listen – it is the only recording I have of my father’s voice.

The musical received rave reviews locally (Armidale, NSW) and ran for an extended season. Interestingly, Prof Russel Ward was appointed to the Chair of History at UNE around the same time, after having been refused a post at UNSW.

Just a little musical history……