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John Passant

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April 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)



Boston and West – what is the difference?

After first studiously avoiding the word, 5 days ago US President Barack Obama labelled the Boston bombing an act of terrorism. Maybe it is, but how can he tell?

At the Electronic Intifada Ali Abunima calls it a rush to judgement. Certainly there is no evidence yet this bombing was motivated by political concerns, for example around Chechnya or Islam.

Indeed it may be the expression of young immigrant men unable to fit in. So it is too early to call it a terrorist attack and all Obama’s talk does is feed the anti-Muslim paranoia, racism and Islamophobia.

Indeed it may be that Obama’s comments are both a response to that mood sweeping across America and an attempt to harness it.

The white Muslims presented a problem for the usual ‘Muslims are terrorists, white mass murderers are lone wolves’ narrative, but the emphasis on the brothers’ Muslim background seems to have overcome that little problem for the media and politicians.

It appears that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will not be read his Miranda rights – the right to remain silent and to have a lawyer. This is being done on the basis that he is a terrorist. So point proved evidently, and this denial of rights might explain Obama’s change of tone and his labelling of the bombing as a terrorist incident. Guantanamo has reached Boston Harbor.

Obama, according to The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, has killed 176 children with his drone attacks. That makes him in my eyes a terrorist

Obama runs the biggest terrorist organisation in the world, the US military. It has bases in 132 countries with more than 350,000 troops stationed overseas.

Its turn to the Asia and the Pacific is a response to the growth of China and US imperialism’s aim to contain China. To that end, the Australian ruling class, with its own imperialist interests in the region and fear of attack from Asia usurping ‘its’ land and property, has a close alliance with the US.  That alliance involves not only Australia marching with the Americans into whatever country the US has invaded and giving the fig leaf of ‘international’ support for US imperialism’s actions; it also involves a new base in Darwin with 2500 US marines to help contain China.

On top of that US spy bases in Australia provide vital information for US imperialism in its containment strategy against China.

The war US capital is waging against the peoples of the world it is also waging against its own people through unemployment, wage cuts and social security cuts.  And unsafe, unregulated workplaces in which the lives of workers and the community count for nothing in the mad drive for profit.

And so it was with the explosion at the fertiliser plant on the outskirts of the small Texas town of Texas. 14 people are confirmed dead; 60 remain missing; houses, a nursing home and a block of flats have been razed to the ground.

The main stream media re describing it as an accident. So Boston is an act of terror nd West is an accident.

However stories are beginning to surface that the fertiliser plant had had no safety inspections since 1985 and that it had stockpiled dangerous levels of explosive material and misled authorities about it.

If so, then shouldn’t those responsible be in jail?

When profit is involved, the state and main stream media cannot speak the truth – that lax safety standards, regulations and enforcement mean that they died in the name of profit.

Here in Australia when the building union, the CFMEU, tried to close down Grocon’s Myer Emporium site in Melbourne over safety issues, in particular the right to have union safety officers on site, the Victorian state sent in 1000 police to shepherd scabs through. A few weeks later a worker on site, Bob Ramsey, died on site in a workplace accident.

A few weeks ago 3 pedestrians were killed when a Grocon site retaining wall on Swanston Street in Melbourne collapsed.   Safety requirements appear not to have been met.

There are no police with guns arresting the owners of companies whose workers are killed on the job. There are no cries of workplace terrorism when another worker dies at work because profit is more important than people. Terrorism at work is acceptable in the name of making a buck. That is the bloody logic of capitalism.

According to Unions ACT:

In Australia

  • every year arround 440 workers are killed in work-related accidents (that equate to more than 8 per week). Diseases such as cancer and asbestos related illnesses cause an estimated 2,300 additional deaths per year (or 44 a week). Road accidents in Australia claim about 30 lives per week;
  • According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more that 15 serious injuries occur every hour (or 1 injury every 4 minutes)

On April 28 each year, unions, workers and their families and friends, in over 100 countries gather to remember the men, women and children who:

  • were killed or injured at work, or became sick from exposure to hazardous substances
  • were tortured, imprisoned, murdered or opressed because of their trade union activities
  • suffered degradation, pollution or destruction of their communities due to unsustainable work practices.

The time has come to end the terrorism in our workplaces. Giving unions work safety inspection and enforcement rights can make workplaces much safer.


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