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John Passant

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June 2013
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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. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/18-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-g20-meeting-age-of-enttilement-engineers-attack-of-austerity-hardship-on-civilians.mp3 (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. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2014/02/11/john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-2/ (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/4-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-end-of-the-age-of-entitlement-for-the-needy-but-pandering-to-the-lusts-of-the-greedy.mp3 (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
(0)

Sick kids and paying upfront

(0)

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. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2013/12/03/john-passant-australian-national-university-8/ (0)

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Saturday’s socialist speak out

For foreign readers, let me introduce you to what passes for politics in Australia.

On Thursday Howard Sattler, a shock jock radio ‘personality’, asked Julia Gillard, the Prime Minister, if her hairdresser partner, Tim Mathieson, was gay. Evidently ‘everybody’ thinks he is. To clinch the argument Sattler pointed out ‘everyone’ knows male hairdressers are homosexual. Sattler has now been sacked but my guess is he will be snapped up by a competitor pretty soon.

Sattler is to MC a breakfast Liberal party fund raiser next month. Until they sack him. I wonder what is on the menu.

A few days ago a menu surfaced from a fund raiser in March for a Queensland Liberal National Party politician which offered Julia Gillard Kentucky Fried Quail – small breasts, huge thighs and a big red box. The owner says it was an in-house joke not given to diners who paid up to $1000 to listen to shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey. To me that seems very convenient, especially since the politician in question condemned the menu 8 hours before the restaurant owner said it hadn’t been distributed. Even if the alibi is true I think Jeff Sparrow in Overland put the wider issue into focus when he wrote:

The real scandal lies not in the incident itself but in what it reveals: that in the twenty first century sexism remains an entirely everyday matter, something that ordinary women encounter with unfailing regularity. If some clown thought he could get away with sexualised humour directed at the most powerful woman in the country, what does that say about the treatment those without power or influence might expect?

This gutter ‘politics’ can predominate because working class struggle is at its lowest ebb in many many a year. Strikes today are about one percent of what they were in the late 60s and 70s. So shock jocks and nonsense instead of class politics and analysis command our attention. The neoliberal consensus means the two major parties have little difference so the odd, the strange and the ridiculous become the focus. Class is off the agenda; crass is on.

Speaking of everyday sexism, the Australian Defence Force is a bastion. There is an investigation at the moment into emails by serving personnel that demean and denigrate women in the service. Seventeen personnel have been stood down with up to 100 more under investigation. This is the latest in a long line of scandals.

But of course sexism in Australia is not systemic; women’s oppression is not part of the furniture of capitalism. No, not at all, just as racism in Australia isn’t systemic either.

A few weeks ago the bigots were frothing at the mouth about an asylum seeker being a murderer. He wasn’t, as the left pointed out and Interpol has today accepted, but never let the facts get in the way of a rabid racist policy and a slick seller of lies determined to whip up hysteria to win votes.

Meanwhile the Australian economy is slowing down; poverty has increased under Labor; one quarter of the children of single parents live in poverty; the gender pay gap under Gillard is now much higher than under John Howard in 2004; bosses continue to get more and more of the national income (apart from a slight downturn recently, as the economy worsens); the rich get richer; education changes are paraded as reforms; Universities have billions cut from their budgets.

Whoever wins the election on 14 September, and the odds are very very short it will be the Liberals, will be faced with an economy that might be moving to join much of the rest of the developed world in recession. Both major parties will adopt austerity. The difference is how much austerity, and how much we let them get away with. However our side hasn’t fought any major battles or had any major wins for a long long time and our trade union leadership fears its own shadows and its membership more than it fears the bosses. So we might get a few ad campaigns warning us how horrible Abbott is or will be but no industrial campaigns against him, or his precursor, Julia Gillard and Labor.

Meanwhile, overseas, Edward Snowden has revealed the fact the US monolith spies on everyone. Obama is Bush unleashed.

In Greece, after the government closed down the equivalent of the ABC, public broadcast workers have taken over their workplaces and are producing workers’ news.

The US has decided to increase support for its favoured groups among the Syrian rebels, with American talk about Assad using chemical weapons against his people being used as a cover for greater imperialist involvement in the struggle.

In Turkey the government is trying to smash the occupation of Taksim Square and has teargassed and beaten the occupiers and arrested hundreds but still they stay strong. Where is the general strike? It might be on its way with one union group striking and another meeting to consider it.

Like all posts on this site comments (see the link under the heading) close after 7 days.

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Comments

Comment from Ross
Time June 15, 2013 at 7:42 pm

They are accusing Edward Snowden of treason for revealing that we are being spied upon, yet Obama trashed their constitution with the NDAA, Preventative Detention , legalised assassination of suspected terrorists and continues with illegal wars.

Who really should be on trial ?

Comment from Chris Warren
Time June 16, 2013 at 10:19 am

Who really should be on trial?

On one hand, I blame the Left for its failure.

However, we need to move away from blaming figureheads such as Fraser, Howard, Thatcher, Blair or Obama. They represent class forces, and replacing one only brings forth another.

Those who should be brought to account are the captains of capitalist industry and finance – the 2%.

Put capitalism on trial.

Comment from John
Time June 16, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Figureheads represent capitalism. Obama on trial is one version of capitalism on trial.

Comment from Ross
Time June 16, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Webster Tarpley http://tarpley.net/ reckons that there is a move to replace Obama with David Petraeus because he is dragging his heels on attacking Syria and Iran.

One neo con faction in the West are lunatics and just love war even if it is Russia/China, while the Obama faction want to expand the empire by their traditional devious means. We are better off with Obama for the short term because Petraeus will be a disaster.

See Oliver Stone’s ‘The Untold History of the USA’ They threatened to nuke Nth Vietnam on 13 occasions. There were factions within the Govt who really meant it and had to be restrained.

3.8 million Vietnamese dead, 3 million Cambodians dead , 55 thousand US dead and not a single apology for that illegal war.

Winning wasn’t the main goal. They dropped 10 times more bombs on Vietnam than the whole of WW2.

Corporations making money out of arms , chemicals and human misery was the objective.