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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

After wowing the one percent at Davos with his insightful market good/government bad speech and before that his goodies and baddies analysis of Syria, Tony Abbott has returned home to Australia to wow us with his war on Indonesia people smugglers. What could go wrong under the leadership of this far-sighted and inspirational visionary?

On top of that Kevin Andrews, Abbott’s Minister for the war on the poor, has announced, surprise, surprise, a war on the poor. Evidently our social security bill of $70 billion is spiraling out of control. The facts tell a different story. According to Toni Wren, writing in the Australian Financial Review, Andrews’ welfare ‘blowout’ doesn’t add up.  She says:

The figures Minister Andrews were referring to show that just over 5 million Australians were dependent on income support as at June 2012.

The minister then concluded that this number was a “blowout” compared to a decade earlier.

A closer examination finds the total number has gone up by 4 per cent over the decade.

To determine if this is a large or small increase, we need to look at the corresponding growth in Australia’s population.

ABS demographic statistics tell us our nation’s population grew by 15 per cent over the same period.

So welfare numbers increased 4 per cent while the population increased 15 per cent.

Actually, that means welfare numbers went down as a proportion of the population over the decade, so where is the blowout?

Pension payments have gone up because more of us are getting old and living longer. But the reality is the tax expenditures on superannuation, which overwhelmingly favour the rich and super-rich, have skyrocketed so much that Treasury has predicted that in the near future the revenue forgone from superannuation tax concessions, at about $45 billion, will overtake the amount we pay in pensions, about $44 billion.

Maybe we could abolish the superannuation tax concessions for the top ten percent and recoup some of the $15 billion we give to them? Or maybe we could abolish the whole rotten tax concession arrangements for superannuation and increase the pension to $30,000 with the money saved from that and abolishing other tax concessions for the rich?

Taxing the family homes of the rich, say homes worth more than $2 million,  would raise a few hundred million. Allowing negative gearing losses of rental properties to be offset only against future rental income would save billions. A wealth tax of one percent on the top 20% of wealth holders would raise $40 billion annually. Abolishing company tax expenditures would save tens of billions.

Of course, abolishing tax welfare for business and the rich isn’t on this government’s agenda.

The real target of any crackdown will focus on Newstart and the Disability Pension, in other words the unemployed and the disabled.  The rhetoric about dole bludgers and  disability rorters will start soon enough.

What the bosses really want

Another target is building unions, with Eric Abetz, the Minister for Workplace Relations, about to unleash the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) again on building unions in an attempt to destroy the one group of unions that take any action to defend workers’ wages and conditions and their lives.

If the government gets its way, more building workers will die as their ability to take any action against unsafe work conditions is further restricted.  Death rates on building sites went up after Howard introduced the ABCC in 2005.

More widely the Abbott government is using the destruction of the car industry in Australia as a way to force unions to accept cuts to conditions and wages to supposedly ‘save’ jobs. All the give backs by unions in the car industry in the US did was increase profits. They didn’t save one job.

Already the bosses are talking about the need for real wages to fall to keep jobs. This is code for protecting profits.

Figures released by Oxfam show that 85 people own as much wealth as half the world’s population, 3.5 billion.

Shifting wealth from labour to capital has been the main strategy of the ruling class and its neoliberal project over the last 3 decades in response to falling global profit rates.  In Australia it was the Labor Party which instigated this project, in conjunction with the trade union bureaucracy.  The Liberals have built upon that success.

Inequality in Australia has worsened, and now the Liberal government with its proposed attacks on workers, their unions and the poor wants to build on Labor’s ‘achievements’ and further increase the rate of inequality.  There appears little mood among the trade union bureaucrats to fight back.

A strategy for today against rampant capitalism?

The poorest group in Australia are indigenous Australians. 226 years of dispossession and genocide have destroyed their livelihoods, culture and heritage and consigned Aborigines and Torres strait islanders to a live of poverty, ill health and early death.

Media in Australia has become outraged by a few bits of anti-Australia Day graffiti on Captain Cook’s house (he never lived there, by the way) and at various other places.  I had the misfortune to catch the Channel 9 news after the first 50 overs in the cricket and it called the actions ‘unAustralian’.

Really? What next? A House Committee for UnAustralian activities?Another article calls the actions racist. It’d would be laughable if it weren’t so serious. Hiding history is a serious business.

No pride in genocide

One of the tags read ‘F@#k Australia Day. No pride in genocide.’ That isn’t vandalism. It is telling the truth, but telling the truth is, as Orwell noted, a revolutionary act in a time of universal deceit.

Evidently writing the word genocide on a wall is a crime while the actual genocide against indigenous Australians isn’t.

Aboriginal sacred sites are desecrated every day. The capitalist media is silent.

White Australia has a black history.

For 65000 years Aboriginal people lived here in harmony with themselves and the environment. Australia Day does not recognise that proud history and prior stewardship. It whitewashes this history by celebrating the arrival of a bunch of neocolonialists and their convicts and guards a mere 225 years ago.

Australia is built on the bones of Aboriginal people.

Our country is trapped in its genocidal history.

Henry Reynolds estimates that, between 1788 and 1920, 20,000 Aboriginal people fell defending their land in an ongoing war against the invaders. The Indigenous population dropped from 300,000 at the time of the invasion to 70,000 130 years later.

Many of these people died because of disease, itself a consequence of the invasion, but they also died as a result of the consequences that flow from genocide and dispossession – murder, poverty, alienation, loss of social structure, alcoholism, racism, lack of food, stolen generations to name a few.

Genocide against Aboriginal people is one theme that runs through the history of the last 225 years. The failure to recognise that genocide is another ongoing theme.

The myth of Australia Day – of Australia as some sort of peacefully settled country – reflects the white bourgeoisie’s attempts to airbrush its brutal role from history. It is also about lulling working people into a mistaken belief they have an interest in the present economic system, that we are all in this big one happy family together.

Here is the ‘vandalism’ from Cook’s supposed home.

 

This over the top reaction from the capitalist media to a few freedom fighters telling the truth shows how deceitful and divorced from reality the one percent is and wants the rest of us to be. This deceit is echoed day in day out by a ruling elite keen to paper over the class differences between workers and bosses and unite us all around a fake nationalism that celebrates the arrival of capitalism in Australia and hence necessarily celebrates the genocide that made that happen.

For a little humour and politics, here is a link to Aamer Rahman (Fear of a Brown Planet) speaking about Australia Day.

To have your say on this or any other political topic hit the comments button under the heading. Like all posts on this blog comments close after 7 days. 

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Comments

Pingback from Saturday’s socialist speak out | OzHouse
Time January 25, 2014 at 12:11 pm

[…] Jan 25 2014 by admin […]

Comment from Ross
Time January 25, 2014 at 5:26 pm

John you need to read ‘Confessions of an Economic Hit Man’ by John Perkins. http://www.johnperkins.org/

Our elites have enslaved most of the countries on this planet via subversion, bribes, corruption and the power of debt money creation.

As John Perkins notes, our Political leaders are given the choice of the bribe, political assassination or the bullet. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEm0wagNKr4