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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)



Blame the enemy within: a return to a common theme

It is a common theme – it is all the fault of the enemy within. The worsening economy, increasing unemployment, the decline of standards, crime, murder, terrorist attacks – blame them all on the other, the different within society.

Until recent times that enemy, at least in many countries in ‘civilised’ and capitalist Europe, was Jews.

The last few decades however has seen the focus of blame shift to Muslims.   Indeed one has only to replace the word Muslim with the word Jew in today’s media hysteria and what passes for commentary to understand that both share a common parent in racism. But it is more than that.

Both started to grip the popular imagination in times of economic crisis.  By and large the Jews of Europe are now the Jews of Occupied Palestine so the target has shifted today to that other other now in the midst- the few percent of the population who are Muslim.

With capital across the globe in search of a trained workforce, and the industrialisation of a number of Muslim countries, Muslim workers have become one section of the skilled workforce on the move. In addition, given the long years of political and economic repression in many of the Arab and other Muslim countries at the hands of US supported dictators some workers from these countries have sought better opportunities in the West.

And in countries like France, its long history of brutal colonial oppression and occupation has created a number of French Muslims.

But what a few years ago would have been the rantings of some isolated political reactionaries has become the cry of much of the mainstream right and seen the reactionaries in country after country win support among sizable sections of the population.

The rise of the fascist party Golden Dawn in Greece is but one example. On current polling it is the third most supported party in Greece and growing.  But all across Europe the xenophobic and racist right is rising, warning against the Islamification of society. The warning of course has no factual basis. It is a lie.

The latest manufactured and exploited hysteria is about terrorist attacks by Muslims.  Loonwatch has done an analysis of politically motivated attacks in Europe. Less than 1% are by Muslims.  Loonwatch says:

A minuscule percentage of terrorist attacks in Europe were committed by Muslims.  In 2009 and 2010, there were a grand total of 543 terrorist attacks, of which only 4 were committed by Muslims.  This means that only 0.7% of terrorist attacks–again, less than 1%–were committed by Muslims.

Meanwhile, in that same time frame, separatist groups in Europe committed 397 terrorist attacks, or 73% of terrorist attacks overall.  In other words, separatist groups committed 99.2 times (almost 100 times) more terrorist attacks than Muslims.

This creation of hysteria about Muslims is deliberate. First it defines and limits terrorism to individual acts, individual acts by dark skinned people mainly. This means the state terrorism of Obama, of Cameron, of Gillard and their predecessors is not only ignored – it doesn’t exist. Secondly it is part of a ruling class agenda to divide and rule workers and distract them for the real class enemy.

On top of that the constant vilification of Muslims means they are much more likely to be the targets of attacks than the perpetrators.

Anti-Muslim incidents

A declining economy and the fear the middle classes have of joining workers at the bottom of society can be a significant driver of a turn towards racism and ultimately fascism.

Workers too are not immune.

The Nazis in Germany did not attract many workers to their ranks. However Germany before 1933 had a numerically strong left wing and two competing and cooperating parties of the left, the social democrats and the communists, who could attract and solidify workers and anti-Nazi sentiment.

Such a strong left does not exist in Europe today, except perhaps in Greece with the rise of SYRIZA, whose ranks include both social democrats and socialists. SYRIZA has grown as a consequence of the economic crisis and the fightback of Greek workers – 18 general strikes over the last few years – against austerity.

A strong left certainly doesn’t exist in Australia and so there are no loud voices among workers shouting against the constant refrain of the political and economic establishment and their whipping up of the fear of terrorism and terrorists.

The drudgery of work under capitalism breeds of itself a hope for a better world. But as Labor, the main expression of that hope fails to deliver because of the global decline of the rate of profit in most of the developed world and its impending collapse in Australia as the Chinese economy, workers search for alternatives.

In the desert that is politics in Australia, Tony Abbott looks like an oasis to some workers.  He will be a mirage, the last tree of relief for many workers dying on 15 September.

The racism of both parties – whether it be directed at refugees, or indigenous Australians or Muslims or terrorists – will find some resonance in alienated workers without any political compass of the labour movement to guide them. Racism becomes the reform that isn’t.

Muslim terrorists have killed no-one in Australia. Police have. Indeed on Monday the Police Integrity Commission recommended to the New South Wales Director of Public Prosecutions that five police face criminal charges over the death of Brazilian tourist Roberto Laudisio Curti. There are no anti-police demonstrations.

Custody kills Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. The number dying in custody is increasing because the number of indigenous Australians being arrested is increasing. With Aborigines making up abut 2 percent of the population but 26 percent of those in custody, the criminal justice system effectively makes it a crime to be Aboriginal.

While there are some demonstrations  and protests against deaths in custody, there are no headlines in the mainstream media screaming about, nor major politicians condemning, the enemy within – the justice system and the police and the system they represent, protect and reinforce.

As the Australian economy worsens, the turn to more and more vicious forms of racism, including attacks on Muslims, will proceed apace and the cacophony of lies about Islamification will reach a crescendo.

This will distract and weaken the working class and make them more and more at risk from their real enemy – capital and its attacks on living standards and jobs.

It remains the task of the left to build the fight against both overt and covert racism, against the vilification of the other that is the hallmark of both major parties, against he systemic racism that pervades our society and against the system that breeds racism.

That can be done in part through the Left’s campaigns against overt racism such as the work around refugees and with indigenous Australians. However we need right now an organisation that has the intellectual and organisational strength to counter the common and bloody theme of blame the enemy within that pervades Australia’s discourse today.

At the moment our reality does not match that need.  Our task is to make it happen. Maybe not tomorrow, or the day after, but in the near future a socialist current might grow that links the rise of racism to the crises within capitalism itself and that can then organise against the racists and fascists and in defence of Muslims, Aborigines and refugees as part of organising against the system which breeds racism, capitalism.



Comment from Rigby Taylor
Time May 29, 2013 at 12:35 pm

I agree with your sentiments on racism, but why on earth do you equate Islam and being a Muslim with racism? I’m opposed to overt expressions of Islam in the same way I’m opposed to overt expressions of all forms of Christianity and other religions. I want to live in a truly secular democracy, not one that kowtows to religious influence, therefore I cannot endorse your views on tolerance and respect for religious faiths that are anti reason, nature and reality. And neither can anyone I know.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time May 29, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Yes, I agree with your comments on Muslims, John.

It is my belief that money hungry corporates are behind a move to outlaw religion altogether. They whip up racial and religious hatreds by underpaying foreign workers.

Eventually I think people of various religious faiths, together with ordinary Australians, will unite against a common enemy which is also pushing all kinds of pro-death policies to increase its money grab.

Comment from Kay
Time May 29, 2013 at 5:36 pm

In Europe recently, the most common perpetrators of terrorist attacks are separatist, anarchist and left-wing groups.

Islamist terrorism is mainly directed at other Muslims.

Comment from Jolly
Time May 29, 2013 at 9:51 pm

Part of the solution to terrorism and racism is the education of women. The “hand that rocks the cradle rules the world” is more appropriate now than ever before. Mothers play a vital role in how their raise their children. Most educated women tend to question oppressive norms much more than men as women are often the oppressed ones. Religious oppression( & submission without question) gives way to reason. It is often interesting to note that in countries where women have easy access to education, secularism is often on the rise. Racism is the product of ignorance.

Comment from Shockadelic
Time May 30, 2013 at 12:53 am

Separatist groups, eh? Well, aren’t they also “the other”?
This just confirms, rather than contradicts, the quite sensible notion that multi-ethnic communities don’t work and aren’t what people want.
People are tribal and territorial, not borderless utopian one-worlders.
People want to live with their own kind, in their own territories.

Comment from Kay
Time May 30, 2013 at 5:41 am


I too deplore this confusion between criticism of a particular religion, and ‘racism’.

People who criticise the growing Islamification of many countries around the world are usually voicing their concerns about the ongoing threat of radical Islamist terrorism, and the worldwide push to introduce sharia law. Even in Australia, there was a recent submission from the peak Islamic council to the government to introduce sharia law. Very few people would want to see their own societies subject to the same oppressive, extremely anti-female, intolerant rules that prevail in Muslim countries.

Radical Muslims, and Muslims generally, represent all racial groups, including Caucasians. To confuse anti-Muslim feelings with racism is ridiculous and just plain mischievous.

I too deplore any connection between ANY religion and the government. I want to live in a truly secular democracy.

And I am surprised that John, who strongly opposes any oppression of women, is so supportive of Muslim practices.

Comment from George Gell
Time May 30, 2013 at 9:46 am

what a load of nonsense. I have read and re- read the Koran and have come to the same conclusion that I came to after reading Mein Kampf. i.e. this was a book setting out a belief system inconsistent with the progress of the human race.
Muslims have not killed Australians in Australia but not for lack of trying. They have killed Australians in Bali for the crime of not being Muslims

Comment from Kay
Time May 30, 2013 at 11:07 am

This sort of issue concerns many people. But this is not about racism.

It certainly concerns me.

Comment from Georgina X. Ferrell
Time May 31, 2013 at 5:36 pm

This sentiment, according to Malcolm Brown and Robert Miles, significantly interacts with racism , although Islamophobia itself is not racism.

Comment from Chris Warren
Time June 2, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Most terrorists are clearly religious and/or nationalist;


Lets not run Kay-like scare campaigns over dreamt-up fears over vague ‘home-grown’ terrorists.

Home grown organised criminals kill far more, extort more, bash anyone who gets in their way, and have greater protections within the police.

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