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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)



The boiling frog of systemic racism in Australia

The WTF? reaction of many Australians to the racist attacks on Adam Goodes – ape, King Kong – is but one further example of the systemic racism in our society that Harry O’Brien identified in a recent post, republished here.

As the frogs further acclimatise to the boiling water of racism that pervades Australian society, is there a way to address this systemic racism? How can we jump out before it is too late?

As a first step, our society could acknowledge the genocide the invaders launched against the original inhabitants of this country and its ongoing impact today.

Indeed the process of dispossession – one aspect of genocide – is taking place right now. It has many names. The Northern Territory Intervention is one example. The mining industry’s rapacious expansion on stolen land is another.

The consequences of the 225 year ruling class war against Aboriginal people is obvious – poverty, ill-health, lower life expectancy, jail, deaths in custody…

The solution appears obvious too. Sovereignty, a treaty, reparations, paying the rent, land rights.

But that won’t end racism. Refugees are vilified as part of the systemic racism of Australian capitalism. Open the borders.  Welcome all refugees.

Now I know none of this will happen because of the good graces of capitalists or their two major parties.  It will require struggle – massive struggle.

The struggles of Aboriginal people, refugees and their supporters have highlighted the systemic racism of Australian capitalism.  However fundamental change, change that throws racism into the dustbin of history, cannot be won or cannot be won for any long period of time, by individual sectors in society.

Only a mass movement which has on its banner the unity of all peoples can challenge racism as the tool of the rich and powerful.

That force is the working class. The campaigns against, for example, deaths in custody, for refugees, against racism, can help drive back the edges of racism. They can help implant the ideas of struggle into the thinking and eventually action of the working class.

But the overall conservatism of society and its inherent racism, the WTF reactions to justified anger over spoken racism, won’t be challenged until workers move back into class struggle.

Let’s build the campaigns against the many rotten aspects of capitalism today. Let’s understand they are all linked and that ultimately it is only in the struggle against the system that its systemic repressions can be challenged and ultimately overcome. The struggles today if they are strong and militant enough can roll back racism.

However since racism is integral to the rule of capital in Australia we cannot defeat it unless ultimately we defeat capitalism. Workers have that power. In the struggle today lies the future.



Comment from Jolly
Time May 31, 2013 at 12:40 am

The many excuses for the name calling of Goodes leaves me to agree with you re the strong presence of “the systemic racism in our society”. It is so ingrained in most of us from our early uncivilised beginnings, that most of us are unable to see the continued injustice towards our First Australians.
Women endured all kinds of domestic abuse in early Australia. Until women rose to redress these injustice it was simply the norm that men had the right to bash their women. All kinds of excuses were made by men to justify or excuse domestic violence then. I see the same excuses and justifications for Aboriginal verbal bashings. Until our Aboriginal people can rise as one cohesive entity and demand their rights to all things the rest of us take for granted, we as Australians will continue to delight (some openly, some in the privacy of their homes) in denigrating our Aboriginal siblings. Shame on us! The fact is that if someone called me an ape, it would mean nothing. But we have an ugly history when it comes to our Aboriginals. We classified them as FAUNA; a sub-specie, apes, monkeys and coined a host of other derogatory terms. We robbed them of their land, their way of life, massacred some tribes and still continue to denigrate them. Aboriginals take offence to name calling that refers to sub-species. It reminds them of a hurtful and tortured past. To continue to denigrate them in this way and then to pretend that they are not racially motivated is the highest form of hypocrisy. We must be great liars or we are truly blind and utterly insensitive to the feelings of others. I am really embarrassed that we haven’t relay progressed in our human relationship. I sometimes wonder how we, as a society, unwittingly subscribe to radicalism in its various forms.

Comment from Kay
Time May 31, 2013 at 7:51 am

Yes, the comments about Adam Goodes were clearly racist and appalling. And they should be condemned as such!

But labeling community concern about the recent huge influx of refugees, most of them Muslims, as “racism” is at best ignorant, at worst mischievous. There is a growing worldwide concern about the Islamification of western democracies, due to fear of terrorist attacks (like Boston et alia), and attempts to introduce sharia law. The ‘race’ of the Muslims is not the issue. The religion is. We can see how life is in Muslim countries, and we don’t want that situation here. Just look at Bankstown for a taste of the possible outcomes.

I now expect some frothing-at-the-mouth accusation of being a ‘racist’!

Comment from Rigby Taylor
Time May 31, 2013 at 11:48 am

Kay, I agree, not wanting to live in an Islamic influenced country is sensible, and certainly not racist – unless not wanting to live in a Christian theocracy is also racist. People have a WTF reaction when seeing a victim’s reactions to racist abuse because they have never been subjected to irrational abuse. Gays know all to well that the bottom falls out of their being when they hear a shout of ‘faggot!’ Abusing a characteristic with which one is born that is the basis of one’s life is destructive… which makes it all the more bizarre when people who have suffered racist abuse themselves then abuse same-sex-oriented people.

Comment from DOOFUS
Time May 31, 2013 at 10:26 pm



Comment from Joe Kidd
Time June 1, 2013 at 8:43 am

racism was around long before Capitalism. It is rather naive to think racism doesn’t exist in socialist societies or in per-capitalist societies.

If you have read any histories of racism you’d know it was a part of many cultures and societies going back thousands of years.

Comment from John
Time June 1, 2013 at 11:16 am

Not true, but even if it is that doesn’t mean that racism and capitalism aren’t intertwined today and the way to defeat racism today is to overthrow capitalism.

Comment from John
Time June 1, 2013 at 11:17 am

The best racists are those who use secularism to feed into Islampohobia.

Comment from Joe Kidd
Time June 1, 2013 at 11:25 am

Islam isn’t a race – it is a religion!

Comment from John
Time June 1, 2013 at 11:27 am

There is no ‘huge’ influx. There is no Islamification. Both of theses ideas are racist bullshit. The fascists and right popularists have shifted their target of the other from Jews to Mulilms and beat this shit up for their own wider political ends. These lies that Kay sprouts find resonance in Australia because were are a deeply racists society and because the middle classes – the traditional backbone of fascism – are afraid of losing their privileged position and slipping into the working class or unemployment. Without a strong left, they can follow, support, join, lead fascist parties and their explanations for the crises of capitalism. Just as anti-semitism is racism, so too is Islamophobia.

Comment from Kay
Time June 1, 2013 at 12:47 pm


I assume then that you have no problems with sharia law being introduced into Australia? Most people do have concerns about such a suggestion. Sure, most Australians want Australia to remain the wonderful country that it is to live in. I am certainly with the majority in that view.

BTW exactly which part of my comment constitutes “lies”?

Sorry, John, but there is little logic to your comments. The Oxford dictionary defines ‘racist’ as “a person who believes that a particular race is superior to another”. Islam is not a race – it is a religion practiced by people of all races, including Caucasians and Asians. So how you can call a concern about the spread of Islam “racist” is beyond me – and probably most people – unless you just want to be mischievous and stir up conflict!

Comment from John
Time June 1, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Lies? All of it Kay, all of it. Utter bullshit.

Sharia law? What fucking planet do you live on you fucking rascist idiot?

But hey you stick with the Islamophobes, the EDL and other reactionaries and fascists. All that the apologsts for white supremacy can come up with is that Islam is not a race. It just so happens almost all its adherenets are not white. Jews are not a race either. But anti-semitism is racism. Find somehere else to troll your racism.

Comment from John
Time June 1, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Judaism isn’t a race either; it’s a religion. But anti-semitism is racism. All that the apologsts for white supremacy can come up with is that Islam is not a race. It just so happens almost all its adherenets are not white. Find somehere else to troll your racism.

Comment from Joe Kidd
Time June 1, 2013 at 6:07 pm

John, you are right to point out the relationship between forms of prejudice such as antisemitism and racism, although they are linked, not the same.

I know of Jews and Christians who hold racist views against black Jews and Christians – an odd thing in itself.

Islam is growing beyond the middle eastern boundaries so it’s more of an intolerance or prejudice than racism.

It may seem like semantics, but racism is, by definition, about race; it’s a bit like saying sexism is a form of racism – not dissimilar but also not the same.

I just read a very interesting article saying that white people can never understand racism, not can non-Muslims fully understand Islamaphobes. Only victims can truly know what discrimination is like – although others can emphasise.

But your points are very well put and your view is one most rational and thinking people could not disagree with.


Comment from Leonard
Time June 2, 2013 at 6:37 am

I migrated to Australia 40 years ago and have adopted most Australian values except the value of racism towards aboriginies, migrants and refugees. I am cautious of some of the White Australian Character and the silent racism that exists in familys and the workplace. I am not saying all Australians are racist but this ugly element still coexists in a silent way stiffling our advancement as a great Nation. As a muslim I live my religous life no different as a Jew or a christian. Where people fail to understand is that there is extreme Islam just as there is extreme christianity. I am a moderate muslim and my values as a Australian first and if there were any suspicion of a extremist or terrorist I would not hesitate to inform the authorities . In fact all extremist who spread their Rhetoric extremist values and who do not adopt Australian values should pack up and get out of Australia and take up residence in an extremist islamist state. Just as extremist christians should consider their views and just as extremist Zionist do the same . It is the extremist of this world and their racial politics of religion that divide the world and communitys that cause war and human suffering. I wait in anticipation for this great nation to mature into an outstanding Nation where we can stand proud regardless of race

Comment from Colin Mallett.
Time June 4, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Agree Leonard and very well put. I note you haven’t addressed Johns point’s about class and it’s influence on the subject. Do you feel that Capitalism and Racism are intertwined or is it a particularly Australian trait? There are many countries for instance in which Racism exists and for mine we may never rid ourselves of the beast. When it becomes a part of everyday acceptance. Written, not just in the constitution but enacted in every single government policy and enforced as such, of course people are taken down the wrong the course. Racists teaching other racists in now an endemic generational codified part of Australian society. A society built on it and still ignoring and denying it’s past is a long way from your final sentence. In our place the history of European settlement has ALL been about Capitalism and Plunder. The one thing that strongly drove the fledgling nation state was opportunity to make a quid and the capitalists had many guises. Be fair to say we never have been honest about this and therefor cannot see the way forward to rectify it. I do believe it is about Plunder and that capitalist attitude that we need to change. Unfortunately it has become a top to bottom to top dialogue controlled by masters of the game they invented. They say we are egalitarian in this nation yet such a small percentage hold so much of the wealth. People have switched off and are too engaged in making more wealth for the few hoping to get ‘ahead’. I would love your final sentence to be true and it only can be when capitalist intent is moderated to the point where it no longer controls peoples emotional reaction to their every day struggle.

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