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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
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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
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Sick kids and paying upfront

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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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Beating back the bigots

“Abortion is homicide” read the shirt of one anti-choice protestor approaching us this morning. He was just one of the hundreds attending the annual March for Babies organised by Victorian Liberal Party state politician Bernie Finn. Finn is a self-identified “pro-lifer” who supports the death penalty.

You might be forgiven for thinking this festival of anti-choice bigotry was driven by anti-woman contempt. In fact, it’s quite the opposite – at least according to Finn. He claims that it is his deeply felt concern for women’s health that keeps him going. Apparently, this concern is what spurs his exhaustive research on the topic. Last year he declared that having an abortion makes a woman 220 percent more likely to use marijuana. Science.

However, the soft pastel of the pink and blue balloons carried by today’s bigots cannot mask what is actually a serious attempt to put the criminalisation of abortion back on the political agenda. This event is a show of strength from the political right, and we didn’t leave it unchallenged.

A counter-rally began on the steps of parliament. Within half an hour we had three hundred. This was the scene of our first victory – the bigots made no attempt to compete for parliament steps. Instead they changed their route and abandoned the place.

Kerren, a pro-choice activist, summed up the mood on our side of the police line. “I’m not here to be patient. I’m here to shout,” she said. And shout we did.

We marched around the streets of Melbourne CBD to meet the anti-choice brigade head to head. They attempted to hold their ground for some time, but we were tougher. We outlasted them easily. We evoked the Occupy Melbourne protests with calls of “Whose streets? Our streets!” as they left.

People joined the counter-demonstration today for many reasons: preparing for misogynistic attacks from the Abbott government, celebrating the wins of activists who came before – not least those who pushed the decriminalisation campaign in Victoria in 2008 – and making bigots cry. All made the list.

Jade Eckhaus, a Socialist Alternative member who chaired the rally said: “We’re on the streets today to show that we’re prepared to fight to defend abortion rights. It’s very concerning to women everywhere that an anti-abortion bigot has now got the most powerful job in Canberra. We feel it’s important to come out on the street to say abortion rights are here to stay.”

An all-out offensive against abortion rights isn’t on the agenda at this point, and the crew at the bigot rally are, for now, an isolated minority. But they are a minority with serious financing and political connections. Under an Abbott government they will be seeking to increase their clout. We’ll be ready.

This article, by Jessica Lenehan, first appeared in Red Flag.

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Comments

Comment from Kay
Time October 15, 2013 at 5:00 pm

I assume Jessica is a passionate young thing with limited life experience. I too am pro-choice, but I can understand the other side of the argument. As a mother of 4 and grandmother of 9, I can understand the view that abortion is the ending of the life of a potentially wonderful person. Abortion should be very carefully considered, and definitely not used as a form of birth control.

I see no reason why people should not be allowed to peacefully demonstrate their point of view – even if I disagree with it. I don’t see why Socialist Alternative feel obliged to rally the troops and start screaming at these people. Very juvenile!

I think Jessica has completely misread Tony Abbott if she believes he will do anything to reduce current Medicare access for abortion. Abortion laws are, after all, a state matter.