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John Passant

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November 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)



Police, horse dribblers and other merde

I was in Melbourne over Easter 2011 for Marxism that year and went to a demonstration at Maribyrnong concentration camp (aka a detention centre) the day after.

Some of you may have seen the report by ABC and others today of the cops complaining about a case against them by one of the protesters. Here is a link to the ABC News article  Horse dribble lawsuit brought by protester outrages police union.

The headline is about a horse dribbling on a protester, but the reality is that two people were injured, including one with a broken clavicle and the other on crutches for a month.

Anyway, here is a link to what I wrote on 26 April 2011 about that demonstration and the police attack on protesters . Among other things I say:

Then the horses came in to force us back from the fence. Apparently ribbons, fence shaking and photos are such a  threat to democracy as we know it that horses are needed to protect it and its symbol – the Maribyrnong concentration camp that keeps innocent people in and out.

This was after the police had capsicum sprayed two people, one a photographer.  All because we were trying to pin ribbons on a perimeter fence and in the case of the photographer, take photos, including of the police in action.

There are a couple of things here. Why would the ABC run such a biased headline when this is, as I say in my report at the time, ‘police assault, pure and simple, designed to intimidate us. It didn’t and it won’t.’

Would it be too much to expect that the thoroughly neoliberal den, the now Abbottimised ABC, report fairly on protests that challenge mainstream thinking and stop accepting police lies at face value?

It appears there is a pattern here in criminalising dissent. It’s not just the law and order hysteria around bikies. The demonisation of refugees, the creation of a climate of fear about terrorism, the attacks on Aborigines in the Northern Territory, building unions and gays and lesbians in the guise of defending marriage  are all about creating enemies who don’t exist.

Last year one thousand cops turned up, with their horses too, to stop building workers and their union enforcing safety rights in a Grocon site in Melbourne. Since then 3 passersby have died in an accident at a Grocon site, plus a worker at another.

How many police have raided the headquarters of Leightons to investigate bribery allegations? None?

How many police have raided Federal Parliament House to investigate and prosecute the quarter of Abbott’s front bench tainted by the expenses scandal, including Abbott himself? None.

Too busy beating up protesters to chase real criminals eh?

As an aside, if I were the ALP I’d be talking a complete revamp of parliamentary expenses and calling for a judicial enquiry into their abuse, with chief rorter Tony Abbott clearly in their sights.

Back to the main topic.

Those who protest are enemies of the state, because we point to a different way, a humane alternative, whether it be for refugees, gays and lesbians, unionists and indigenous Australians.

This is a challenge to the increasing fear-mongering that substitutes for analysis by our rulers, intent on creating distractions from the crisis that is capitalism.

As my re-posting of a report of the Victoria Police attack on students last week shows, the police have no respect for civil liberties or freedom of expression. They are the armed thugs of the one percent as that tiny minority cracks down on protest, dissent and protest. The ABC reflects uncritically this turn to repression in its reporting. [As that report now makes clear, the article I re-posted there was a lie to the working class and members of Socialist Alternative and was one of the main reasons I resigned from Socialist Alternative.]

Take the ABC ‘report’ on the horse dribblers.  Here are the views of the head of the Police Association.

The Police Association’s Bruce McKenzie says the lawsuit is outrageous.

“Taxpayers ought to be outraged that their money is being used for legal action for purposes related to a police horse dribbling,” he said.

“Come on, give us a break.”

He says the Association respects the rights of people to demonstrate, but says there is a tendency at some protest for a ‘lunatic fringe’ to become involved.

“The situation at public demonstrations can become quite volatile, and it is a difficult job for the police to patrol some of these protests or demonstrations, and that’s made more difficult when people allegedly taking part in a peaceful protest, turn violent,” Mr McKenzie said.

He says the public’s right to protest is undermined when police are put at risk.

“There is evidence that in this case, the police horse was put at risk of injury,” he said.

Except it isn’t about dribbling; it is about cops and their horses injuring protesters. Second, horses shouldn’t be used to intimidate protesters. Why were they even there in the first place? Third, I witnessed no violence from protesters.  If the protesters had ‘turned violent’ how many were arrested? None. Funny that.

‘How many were arrested and convicted?’ is the sort of question a first year cadet journalist might think to ask, but not evidently the ABC.  It might have put put the bullshitter from the Police Association in his place.  But the ABC wanted to beat up the dribble angle and not the real story of police violence against peaceful protesters.

Notice too how the Police Association talks about a ‘lunatic fringe’. Stalin of course used to use  psychiatry against his opponents. After all they’d have to be mad not to love the wonderful system he was building, wouldn’t they? Sounds to me as if doubting the sanity of those you disagree with isn’t just a trait of Stalin.

But it fits a pattern. Those who protest are clearly less than human. One commentor on my recent re-post about Police attacks on student demonstrators, a commenter with an ISP address at the Victoria Police Centre, called themselves dirty unwashed c….s, clearly a reference to the student protesters the police attacked.

What we have is a rotten culture among police, a culture which treats those who protest as the enemy, and therefore OK to physically attack. This is not some new development. The police are a creature of capitalism whose main role is to protect the one percent from the rest of us and repress the working class in overt and covert ways. Calling protesters lunatics, or dirty unwashed c….s is part of that role, de-humanising us to make physically attacking us acceptable to the cops themselves and they hope the wider society.

As the global economy worsens and the ruling class attacks in Australia on the working class intensify, there will both more racist and other scapegoating and more and more repression from the one percent.

If there is any hope it lies in the proles. The most important battles in the weeks and months to come are likely to be by unions, in particular building unions. The Abbott government has signaled a brutal crackdown on the CFMEU and other building unions in the near future, especially through its soon to be revitalised Australian Building and Construction Commission.

To drive back the repressive state, we must join together with building unions to help them win their fight against repression and in their victory create the space for freedom to blossom.

This statement from the Flemington and Kensington Community Centre about the legal case corrects the lies of the media and police.



Pingback from Police, horse dribblers and other merde | OzHouse
Time November 4, 2013 at 9:02 pm

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Comment from Byon
Time November 6, 2013 at 10:34 am

” if I were the ALP I’d be talking a complete revamp of parliamentary expenses and calling for a judicial enquiry into their abuse, with chief rorter Tony Abbott clearly in their sights.”

If you were in the Labor Party, you would likely be talking nothing of the sort. You’d be talking class collaboration with your liberal “opponents” while thinking how to make a packet yourself. Perhaps you’d be talking with Eddie Obeid and Ian MacDonald about rigging coal mining licenses, or fixing leases for upmarket cafes on Circular Quay. Or perhaps, like Bob Carr, until recently the Senator for Macquarie Bank, you’d be busy arranging your next transition through the revolving door between political office and corporate sinecures.

Obviously, the ALP are not the types of people who would have any interest in your advice on how to deal with corruption.

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