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John Passant

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May 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)



Occupy Ford

Let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.

Ford’s decision to close its car manufacturing plants in Australia in 2016 offers stark choices for the working class movement in Australia.

One is to bow to ‘market forces’ and talk platitudes about new opportunities and retraining and support for the workers and their families.

The other is to fight back, for the workers for example to occupy the plants and tool them up for socially useful production like electric cars and buses, trains, solar plant components and wind turbines as part of a process of turning Australia into a fully renewable energy society by 2025.

The puppets of profit in the labour movement will wring their hands and cry their crocodile tears and move on to the next class collaborationist market induced disaster.  They will call for summits and industry plans and more workers’ money to be thrown at the remaining car producers, Toyota and Holden.

The car companies will of course trouser the billions in loot and then do whatever their blessed market demands anyway.

The global car market is telling Australian car manufacturers they are not viable.  No amount of fiddling at the edges is going to tame the beast of profit and its logic of relocation.

The solution lies not in the market but in its exact opposite – workers’ democratic control of industry, with production organised to satisfy human need.

The choice is not only stark; it is clear. It’s the market or jobs. It’s their profit or our needs. It poses the question – are they our factories or theirs?

Of course the trade union leadership won’t make these arguments and after 30 years of class collaboration and the destruction of rank and file organisation in unions, ordinary workers I suspect won’t be making these arguments either. If a small minority are they won’t get a hearing.

However there is hope. The Broadmeadows plant in Geelong has a proud history of militancy. In 1973 fed up mainly migrant workers rejected their unions leaders ‘tea and bikkies’ approach to the bosses.

As Lian Jenvey puts it in Socialist Alternative they struck for 9 weeks in 1973 ‘to slow the assembly line, hire more workers, hire women, increase the number of toilet breaks and increase wages above the original offer.’  They had to fight not just the bosses but their union officials. They organised, picketed, fought and won.

2013 is not 1973. However to stop the planned plant closures and defend jobs, to start the journey to a better world, reclaiming the spirit of 1973 and translating that into occupying the Ford car plants today offers not only a way forward but the only way forward.

There must be some way out of here.

There is. Occupy Ford.



Comment from Ross
Time May 24, 2013 at 8:31 pm

If it were only that simple John.Manufacturing here will soon be gone unless we drop all the Govt regulation, red tape and stupidity.

Under Agenda 21 begun in 1968 we are being de-industrialised and being made slaves to the neo con’s New World Order.

Slavery has many names be it communism or fascism and this oppression is being justified under the guise of saving the planet.

Comment from Alan B. Goulding
Time May 25, 2013 at 10:58 am

Couldn’t agree more, but rather than occupy Ford, I’d want the Govt to resume it, and then operate it as an employee co-op.
[Well we’ve already ploughed billions into it!]
We lead the world in (mass produced) moulded carbon fibre construction.
We also invented the ceramic fuel cell that runs on NG.
A carbon fibre car powered by a gas powered fuel cell, is going to command a huge global market!
Particularly in those countries that respect patent rights.
The advantage of a fuel cell is the time that is required to refuel.
Not much different to LPG!
The other advantage, is there is no combustion, just a chemical reaction that produces mostly water vapour.
There are no moving parts in a fuel cell to wear our, and economies of scale, would allow a fuel cell to be installed for less than a conventional combustion engine. The 72% coefficient of the fuel cell, would make this vehicle, the cheapest and most economical to run, minus the usual constraints, normal to battery powered electric vehicles.
Regenerative braking would add to the range as would another Aussie innovation, a solar cell paint job!
This ceramic cell application would also work on rapid rail, trams, trolley buses etc, as an inboard, and allow such transport options to run free of the extremely costly and energy wasting (50%) wires.
I’d imagine the Chinese and the Indians would welcome a vehicle that would run on much cheaper NG; or even cheaper (scrubbed) Biogas, and produce mostly water vapour, instead of the usual smog!?
Alan B. Goulding.

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