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John Passant

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March 2014



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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)



Saturday’s socialist speak out

A high school student asked Australia’s  Liberal Party Prime Minister Tony Abbott about why he didn’t support same sex marriage. He said ‘Can we have a bloke’s question?’  Satire is dead. Again.

Here’s a link to a video of the ruling class’s Prime Minister bumbling his way through high school student questions.  Well, at least he’s still good for sticking it to unions, workers, asylum seekers, indigenous Australians, women… I wonder if there is a link between the Liberals vilification and demonisation strategy and the attacks on the working class?

Abbott’s Liberal mates in Tasmania and South Australia are poised to win elections in both States today. Apart from the ACT, there may well be no State or Territory run by Labor. In Tasmania some are predicting that the Greens could finish in front of Labor in the votes and seats held, thus becoming the official Opposition.  This is not because there will have been a swing to the Greens but because Labor’s vote has dropped to somewhere in the low 20s. We will know soon enough when the polls close in a few hours.

[OK the counting for the night has finished and Labor may hold power in South Australia with 47.4% of the 2 party preferred vote, while the Liberals have romped home in Tasmania, and the Green vote there has fallen 40%. My punditry skills obviously leave a lot to be desired. I should remember that the owl of Minerva flies only at dusk.]

This will be a crisis for Labor.  But more generally it will be a crisis for the more astute and sensible sections of capital.  The best thing capitalism has had going for it is social democracy and the cruel dream that you can give workers of one generation a better economic life than previous generations, a dream that the post war boom could satisfy for a while as reconstruction and the permanent arms economy created conditions for a long boom not undermined by falling profit rates. (The permanent arms economy took money on a massive scale out of the productive section of capital and into a non-productive sector, thus slowing down the ability of the tendency of the rate of profit to reassert itself until the late 1960s and early 70s.)

As profit rates around the globe have fallen over time since then, with some ups because of neoliberal policies shifting the burden onto the working class and  giving temporary respite to capital, but with the general global trend since 1997 down, the ability of Labor Parties to provide more social welfare and other benefits to workers has been curtailed.

In fact Labor, because of its links to the working class through the trade union bureaucracy has been best able to implement neoliberalism. The Hawke-Keating Government and its Accord with unions achieved neoliberal results in shifting wealth to capital from workers that the likes of Margaret Thatcher never could.

The Accord saw these false prophets of the union movement sit among the gods of Mount Olympus while their slave members worked harder and harder and longer and longer for less and less real rewards. The slaves revolted against their union leaders by leaving unions in their droves. The vote for the ALP declined over time too as workers realised that the Labor Party ruled for the one percent while occasionally giving workers crumbs from the table of the rich. But as the meals for the one percent got bigger and bigger there were less and less crumbs to give to the slaves.

What Labor’s neoliberalism does is pave the way for right wing Liberal governments whom Labor then tries to outbid with right wing Labor policies. It is the dance of neoliberalism – right foot, right foot, right foot, the two parties jowl to flabby jowl and going round and round in an ever diminishing circle of free style neoliberalism.

In other news, a paedophile was convicted of the murder of Daniel Morcombe. The outpouring of grief is genuine and justified but why does that outpouring not extend for example to the many mentally disabled Aboriginal people locked up in prison for no crime but their disability (which is not a crime)? Or for the aboriginal kids dying from disease or suicide?

The police investigation has been criticised for taking 8 years to catch a prime suspect, and then only as part of an elaborate sting. Imagine if the police had infiltrated the Catholic Church to expose paedophile priests and the higher ups protecting them.

What position to take on Ukraine? As the posts I have republished argue – neither Washington nor Moscow but workers’ revolution.  The latter isn’t on the cards yet, but the class struggle in Bosnia, uniting different groups against the bosses, the common enemy, shows a glimpse of a way forward.

The antiwar movement in Moscow mobilised 50000 people yesterday. There is hope.

To have your say or see what others are saying hit the comments button under the heading. Like all posts on this blog comments close after seven days.



Comment from Chris Warren
Time March 15, 2014 at 6:33 pm

The Western nations have spent a tremendous amount of time and effort in influencing Ukrainian society and leading it to the present situation, believes Konstantin Kosachev, the head of Russia’s federal agency for foreign cooperation.

Rossotrudnichestvo has been doing everything it can to maintain Russian cultural influence in Ukraine, but the European Union and the United States have incomparably greater resources, Kosachev said in an interview with the business daily Vedomosti (Rossotrudnishestvo is the federal body in charge of humanitarian cooperation and the welfare of the Russian Diaspora within the Foreign Ministry).

The Russian side has worked to maintain the existing level of its cultural presence – it organized events promoting Russian language, helped Ukrainian students study in Russian universities, organized exhibitions, concerts and other events, Kosachev said in the interview.

“But all this cannot be compared to the long and pre-planned campaign executed in Ukraine by the European Union and the United States in which they made important addresses, including those concerning ideology – directly targeting the community, the Ukrainian mass media and non-government organizations, expert groups and younger people. Communication with the state authorities or business circles was significantly smaller,” the Russian official noted. “They spent gigantic resources on this massive ideological sowing resulting in powerful shoots in the form of the ‘Euromaidan’ [violent riots in the Ukrainian capital that started after the authorities scrapped the plan to sign an association agreement with the EU],” Kosachev said.

The head of the Foreign Cooperation Agency noted that in order to keep up and compensate for the damages Russia must launch a major refurbishment in its work with the public, not only in Ukraine, but in all former Soviet republics. He added that the Foreign Ministry had already addressed Russia’s leaders with a plan allowing for a future breakthrough. Its main point is that Russia should not rely solely on diplomats and other officials in maintaining friendly relations with neighbors, but should make this a mission for the community as a whole.

“Russia’s soft power is only getting into full flavor when the information about us is not presented through the mirror of the press or explanations of dishonest expositors and also not by ourselves, but instead by ordinary people and our partners abroad,” Kosachev told the newspaper.

The official elaborated that in the case of Ukraine, the benefits of EU association were presented not by Brussels bureaucrats, but by Ukrainian activists on Independence Square.

“Ukrainians themselves were explaining the attractiveness of this project to each other, while our projects, our hopes and intentions were presented by us alone,” Kosachev noted.

The Russian parliament has repeatedly blasted the involvement of foreign officials and politicians into internal affairs of Ukraine. When the events took a violent turn in the beginning of this year, both the lower and upper houses passed addresses to foreign colleagues asking them not to interfere in the crisis and warning of dire consequences for the Ukrainian state and its people.

Comment from Kay
Time March 16, 2014 at 1:44 pm

Well, that’s the Russian point of view.

Either way, Ukraine is a mess. Like most of Europe, Ukraine has a long history of invasions and cultural changes, but, most recently, was part of Russia until Krushchev allowed it to form an autonomous state. Crimea, with its nice climate, was a favoured base for retired KGB officers, as well as other well-off Russians. Crimea has great strategic value to Russia, and 60% of its population are Russian-born or have Russian ancestry. Ukraine is basically bi-lingual, regardless of the official language.

Yanukovych has a criminal record for theft and violence – and fraud. He would be cautious of EU association because of its requirement for democracy and eliminating corruption – from which Yanukovych has benefited. Putin is definitely more his ‘cup of tea’.

The revolution against Yanukovych was mounted mainly by middle-of-the-road democracy-loving citizens, but they were helped by some right-wing nationalists. I guess the western half of Ukraine would like to be more like their richer neighbour, Poland. Ukraine is an economic mess.

So who’s in the right – who’s in the wrong? Who to support? The referendum gives Crimea no option to remain part of Ukraine. And the Russian propaganda machine is depicting Ukraine as a Nazi state!!! And in the middle of it all are the much persecuted (by Stalin) Tartars! Not a great outlook, no matter which way you look at it!

Glad I live here!

Comment from Chris Warren
Time March 16, 2014 at 11:42 pm

Geez, if you noted what Stalin did to the Tartars did you notice what the Japanese did to the Chinese or, somewhat later, the Americans to the citizens of Nagasaki and Hiroshima and even their own black citizens then to the Vietnamese, Chileans and Nicaraguans?

Spreading false fears on behalf of the Tatars is just spreading black propaganda. Only scoundrels would whip up ethnic strife just to pursue political agendas. This is mother’s-milk for Americans and their agents.

During the Stalin era Australia also moved huge ethnic groups into internment camps and herded natives in chains across outback Australia or, as before WWI, fenced them in as at La Perouse after forcible expulsion from near Sydney.

So should we spread false news stories about supposed fears of local Kooris about the election of extreme rightists into Parliament? Are Australian Kooris in the middle of it all – given their death rates?

Comment from paul walter
Time March 17, 2014 at 9:16 am

Chris Warren’s point works well as evidence for globalisation, but I just want to compliment John for the thread starter.

Comment from Chris Warren
Time March 17, 2014 at 10:22 am

Ukrainian fascists are calling to sabotage gas pipelines for political motives.

Fascist thugs patrol Ukrainian streets armed with baseball bats, disrupt community meetings.

Fascists distributed translations of Mein Kampf and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in Maidan Square.

For more info:

Comment from Kay
Time March 18, 2014 at 6:43 am


And your point about the Japanese etc etc is?????? My comment was about Ukraine – not the rest of the world!! You certainly have revealed yourself as extremely and hysterically pro-Russian on this issue!

As I said, the ‘revolution’ in the western half of Ukraine, mainly in Kiev, was the result of widespread dissatisfaction within the community. Sure, there are no doubt small extreme right wing organisations also taking part, but don’t brand everyone else with that political affiliation. Your link just proves how small this segment is, and how ridiculous it is to call the western half of Ukraine “fascist”!. There were sufficient reasons for the population in general to revolt against this corrupt regime without any assistance from the far right. But, like socialists, extreme right groups are opportunistic participants! That’s politics!

Your argument is equivalent to saying that the ‘March in March’ protests are ‘communist’ uprisings, when in fact there are many ordinary citizens who are unhappy with certain Abbott government policies. Acting on your logic, this interpretation would be made because some extreme left wing organisations (socialists) also took part in these protests. Maybe they even had copies of the Karl Marx Manifesto with them? Who knows, who cares – they are a very small group, after all, who do have a right to express their views.

It is nice that you have no concerns at all about the fate of the Tartars. I hope the Tartars share your view, given their fairly recent experiences under the yoke of the USSR.

Comment from Chris Warren
Time March 18, 2014 at 10:09 am

Kay stop wingeing…

You use of words like “hysterically” only radiates from you.

Your imagination that I am “pro-Russian on this issue” is ignorant and infantile. I adopt the same approach over the proposed referendum for Scottish independence, East Timor independence and the referendum run by Indonesia in West PNG.

You are jumping all over the place like a scatty cat.

I never called the western half of Ukraine “fascist”. this is your falsification.

Nothing I said can be interpreted as ” ‘March in March’ protests are ‘communist’ uprisings”. This is your falsification.

Social movements always have the right to rise up against corruption. But this is not restricted to social movements ticked-off by US State department and orchestrated by Western diplomats. I suppose you know about the violence directed against the Occupy Movement in the US?

Allowing fascists such opportunities may be your politics – it is not mine.

There were no extreme left wing movements taking part in March in March. This was your falsification.

Your statement that I have no concerns about the fate of the Tartars was a deliberate lie for your private political purposes.

Wouldn’t you be better off sending your tracts to “News Weekly” or Bolts blog. They have similar low standards as you regularly display.

Comment from Kay
Time March 19, 2014 at 7:17 am


“You are jumping all over the place like a scatty cat.” Me??? Really??? You quoted the view of a Russian bureaucrat about Ukraine. I gave an alternative slant on the situation – plus said it was difficult to know who to support. Then off you went about the Japanese, Americans, and Australians!! I mean, a bit of a tangent there! May I say “scatty”?

Then you give a link to an article about a very small ultra right wing nationalist group in Ukraine – and you mention “fascist thugs” etc.. But when I mention “fascist” you have a fit! It was widely broadcast on TV etc that, in Russian propaganda for the Crimean referendum, Ukraine was depicted as “fascist”, complete with a swastika! The entire tone of your posting is a tad hysterical! It’s not all about you and your postings, you know.

The mere point I was trying to make is that small, extreme political parties/groups are very opportunistic. Sure, some extreme right wing groups took part in the Kiev riots, but most were just democracy-loving citizens who had had enough of Yanukovich with his corruption and his U-turn. To depict, as the Russians have done, the Maidan riots as “fascist” was quite wrong.

As a comparison, I said that socialist groups clearly took part in the March for March protests, but to call the protests a ‘communist/socialist uprising’ would be equally wrong. No one has called these protests a ‘communist/socialist uprising’, but the same logic that the Russians have applied to Ukraine could label the March in March protests as such. It was just an extension of the Russian logic. You clearly failed to understand my comments.

“There were no extreme left wing movements taking part in March in March. This was your falsification.” Really? Socialist groups in Australia call for a workers’ revolution to replace our current democracy with some demonstrably-failed ideology. They take no part in our political system, declining to put candidates up for voter scrutiny – unlike the ACP. I mean, isn’t a group that calls for the destruction of our democratic system of government ‘extreme’???? If that’s not ‘extreme’, what is? TV coverage of the protest marches clearly showed the involvement of these socialist groups – including the “F*** Abbott” T-shirts that SA was selling.

Your problem seems to be that you view ultra right wing groups as ‘extreme’ and not to be tolerated. But you think ultra left wing organisations are OK! Most reasonable, tolerant people would see both ends of the spectrum as adding to the overall political dialogue, and not call for the banning of either. A robust democracy can easily handle such divergent points of view. Can you?

Clearly you hate to see my alternative point of view on this blog. You only like ‘group-think’, do you? I have never even looked at Bolt’s blog, nor do I even know what ‘News Weekly’ is!! You, on the other hand, are clearly familiar with them. Why do you read them? I would hate right wing ‘group-think’ as much as the left wing version!! Or do you contribute your alternative views? Good on you if you do.

BTW did you watch ‘Foreign Correspondent’ last night on ABC1? It covered the Ukraine issue pretty well. Or is the ABC too right wing for your taste?

Comment from Chris Warren
Time March 19, 2014 at 11:58 am


Rants don’t help you.

If you just do basic searches you will find that your right wing groups are fascist thugs with baseball bats, sledge hammers and calling for so called “trains of friendship” (of armed thugs).

You have equated what you term

“ultra left wing organisations”


“ultra right wing groups”

when “ultra right wing groups” were described in the link I posted earlier and conduct themselves like this:

This is just black propaganda.

We all know that history teaches that economic catastrophe is only resolved by world war after pumping stimulus has failed. The West wants a proxy war based on whatever ethnic divisions they can drag-up from the bowels of history. Only people trying to dig up divisions from the bowels of history would use anacronistic abbreviations such as ACP as you have done. I think you need more up-to-date briefing notes. We are no longer living in the 1940’s. Menzies is dead – we have Abbott now.

Doroschenko, who appeared in Eric Campbell’s piece on Ukraine was obviously pre-arranged. He is a representative of so-called Ukrainian noble families.

What proportion of that episode of Foreign Correspondent was allocated to each side of the dispute?

Maybe you would be best not posting stuff while blood rushes to your neck. This would avoid clangers such as:

isn’t a group that calls for the destruction of our democratic system of government ‘extreme’

No-one “calls for the destruction of ‘our democratic system'”.

More falsification.

I do not believe that you do not know what “News Weekly” is.

Do you know who BA Santamaria was?

Please do not try to impute any views of others concerning the ABC. You are just enmeshed within your own cold-war imagination.

Comment from Kay
Time March 20, 2014 at 5:45 am


Further to yesterday’s response to you: looks like left wing thugs have seized Ukrainian naval bases in Crimea. As I said, thugs are everywhere!

Comment from Chris Warren
Time March 20, 2014 at 6:02 pm

Stupid Kay,

Putin is not Left wing. Those trying to give Crimean majority the right to determine their own destiny are not Left wing.

So do you know who B A Santamaria was?

Comment from Kay
Time March 21, 2014 at 8:15 am


Well, I did respond to you in detail – but it has not been published! Whatever!

Left wing thugs/right wing thugs – what’s the difference? Thugs are thugs, and they all indulge in the same tactics – intimidation and violence.

BA Santamaria? Yes, I remember him well! He was a despised (in my CPA family anyway) rabidly anti-communist Catholic activist in the early 1950s who helped form the DLP in Victoria. I gather from Googling “News Weekly” that Santamaria edited this essentially Catholic newspaper (even though he formed the NCC to formally move this group away from the Catholic Church). Now why on earth would I, being a past CPA member and avowed atheist, have any interest in the News Weekly? Are you crazy?

Clearly though, you are familiar with both Andrew Bolt’s blog (which doesn’t interest me either) and News Weekly. Interesting. Do you contribute to them?

I find your postings very disjointed and “scatty”. Developing a reasoned argument does not appear to be your style. Your best postings are reproductions of other people’s comments (like your first posting on this thread).

Comment from Chris Warren
Time March 21, 2014 at 8:50 am


You created the labels – so you should explain the difference if any. You created supposed left-wing thugs.

Now you want to run away?

You will ply any dirty trick to disrupt the Left.

If you want to spread rumours about left wing thugs in a thread about Ukraine, without being scatty – where is your evidence?

So many were in the CPA in the 1950’s, it was a different milieu, and not all were legitimate members either.

I most certainly do not contribute to Bolt’s blog nor News Weekly, and any normal person would resent your insinuation. It is just another example of your scatty nonsense.

Sensible people do take at least a passing interest in News Weekly, Bolts Blog, Quadrant, and other rightists outpourings. Only the juvenile would pose as you have.

Comment from Kay
Time March 21, 2014 at 6:35 pm


My goodness me – what ridiculous arguments you raise!! So CPA members in the 1950s were some sort of inferior lot, were they? Is that what you are implying? “….not all were legitimate members either.” – what the hell does that mean? The 1950s “was a different milieu”? It sure was – many of our members, particularly uni staff and teachers, lost their jobs because of their CPA membership!! I think that shows a little more dedication than today’s latte socialists! Do you remember the referendum to ban the CPA by Menzies? A scary time for members! Today you can be as socialist as you like with no detriment to your life or career. How insulting and ignorant you are!

“I most certainly do not contribute to Bolt’s blog nor News Weekly, and any normal person would resent your insinuation.” Hey, I resented your original ridiculous insinuation that I contribute to Bolt’s blog or News Weekly!!! You were the one who started all that crap! And all because you resent my comments on this blog.

It is my personal observation, having maintained an interest in politics all my fairly long life, that intimidation and violence are methods used by both the right and the left to get their views across. It is not up to me to prove it – it is self evident. Google it yourself. I find it very amusing that any socialist/communist regime that perpetrates atrocities etc is suddenly disowned by the left. So “the Left” is just you ineffective, sanctimonious latte socialists, it it? And yet, “the Right” is accused of being “fascists”, “racists”, you name it!! Ridiculous!

Comment from Chris Warren
Time March 22, 2014 at 9:24 am


Rants don’t help.

I only suggested that you may find things easier if you sent your tracts off to Bolt or News Weekly. There was no suggestion that this is your present practice. That was not crap – it is precisely where you belong.

You have deliberately reinterpreted this for your own convenience.

You are wallowing in falsification.

Exclamation marks do not add anything.

There is more violence in your posts than I care to concern myself with.


It appears you do not even know what a socialist communist society is.

The Left and Right are not using violence and intimidation to get their views across.

The Ukrainian Right is fascist, so please do not reinterpret this as some claim that all Right is fascist. More falsification.

You really are a nasty propagandist.

If you want violence – take a walk through any night-club district, depressed alchohol impacted aboriginal community, ethnic riven suburban outpost, or Catholic Church children’s home.

Comment from John
Time March 22, 2014 at 7:06 pm

Left wing thugs? Oh dear you have reached new lows of analysis Kay.

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