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John Passant

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Keep socialist blog En Passant going - donate now
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)

Sprouting sh*t for almost nothing
You can prove my 2 ex-comrades wrong by donating to my blog En Passant at BSB: 062914 Account: 1067 5257, the Commonwealth Bank in Tuggeranong, ACT. More... (12)

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)



Join the fightback contingent on May Day

Join the fightback contingent on May Day

The first of May has been a day of celebration for millennia write Liam Byrne and Naomi Farmer in Socialist Alternative. The meaning of 1 May, or May Day, changed forever in 1886 amid an immense industrial struggle for the eight-hour day by the US working class. Capitalists shivered in fear in musty boardrooms as 340,000 workers went on strike in an immense show of force.

Eager to retaliate against this demonstration of class power, the forces of the state moved into action. On 3 May, police attacked protesters in Chicago, the strike’s centre. Four workers were murdered by the police. The following day was marked by a protest of thousands in Chicago’s Haymarket Square. At one point a bomb was thrown; it is still not known by whom. A police officer was killed in the blast, and the police again went on the rampage, mauling the protest lines and killing four more workers.

Eight strike leaders were arrested following the massacre. Four were sentenced to death despite a complete lack of evidence connecting them to the bomb attack. Such was the cost of defiance in the eyes of the US state.

The fight for an eight-hour day was an international one. It belonged to no single country, but to the working class movement the world over. It was not in the US, but in Australia that the eight-hour day had first been wrested from reluctant bosses. In 1856 construction workers downed tools at the University of Melbourne and marched to the colonial parliament. Workers from other sites joined, tramping over newly paved streets and creating history. Their defiance paid dividends, and the eight-hour day was won – for some.

The battle continued until the time of the Haymarket massacre, when workers the world over mourned the loss of their comrades in Chicago. But they did more than mourn. They fought. In July 1889 the Second International, an international association of working class political parties, decided to turn 1 May 1890 into a day of protest and a day of remembrance for those martyred at Haymarket.

From that day, May Day became a truly international event, a day of protest against the brutal and inhuman system of capitalism that would shed blood gladly for a few more hours of profit a day. Speaking in London for the May Day protest in 1890, the great socialist Eleanor Marx cautioned, “This is not the end but only the beginning of the struggle”; and so it proved.

The first May Day was a howl of rage at an unequal system that sweated and bled workers on the rack of industrial toil and shot them down when they dared to show defiance. The first May Day raised the slogan of eight hours’ work and justice for the martyrs. In the course of time, the eight-hour day was won in countries across the world.

But the May Day protests did not cease. Year after year, they grew in size and intensity. May Day was no longer for the eight-hour day; it was a day of rage against all the inequities of the system. It was a day for the working class to show its solidarity beyond narrow national bounds, beyond the restrictions of race or creed or country. It was a day of international protest for a class that stretched around the world, and so it remains today.

May Day is our day, the day of our struggle, the day to remember our martyrs. Workers’ leader August Spies, who was executed after the Haymarket massacre, spoke with a defiance that defines our struggle:

If you think that by hanging us you can stamp out the labour movement … then hang us! Here you will tread upon a spark, but there and there, behind you and in front of you and everywhere, flames blaze up. It is a subterranean fire. You cannot put it out.

May Day today

Today economic crisis continues to ravage parts of Europe, North America and the Middle East. More than a century after the first May Day, capitalism has proven itself incapable of providing for the needs of the majority of people on the planet.

Inequality has become so pronounced under capitalism that the world’s super-rich have stashed $32 trillion in offshore tax havens: just the interest on this wealth would cover the full cost of lifting out of poverty every single one of the 1.29 billion people who are currently mired in it.

Here in Australia we have so far avoided the worst of the economic crisis, but there is still inequality worth protesting about: one in eight adults and one in six children live in poverty. The richest Australians are doing better than ever. The very richest of them all, Gina Rinehart, has a personal wealth that is more than enough to provide for the social needs of the entire world’s poor.

Capitalism is all about increasing rates of inequality – and May Day is all about standing up against inequality and fighting for a fairer world.

Fight back

This year Socialist Alternative, having just completed a merger with the Revolutionary Socialist Party, will be marching alongside the Socialist Alliance and others in joint “Fight back” contingents around the country. We invite you to join us as we march together on Sunday 5 May in Canberra, (the Canberra May Day march will have a Fightback contingent too and starts at 11.30 am on Saturday 4 May at Old Parliament House and will march to Federation Square at the new Parliament House), Brisbane (assemble corner of Wharf and Turbot Streets at 9.30am), PerthSydney and Melbourne :

– Stop the racism against refugees and asylum seekers

– No “WorkChoices lite”’: defend the right to strike

– Services, not job cuts

– No to racist scapegoating: full citizenship and industrial rights for migrant workers

– Money for health and education, not racism and war

– Internationalism and solidarity will win!