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John Passant

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May 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)



News Corpse: starring Gerard Henderson as one of the many walking dead

I do love Gerard Henderson’s off the planet rants, and Saturday’s diatribe in The Australian was no exception. (‘No Right to make your case‘ The Australian Saturday 24 May 2014, page 24.)

Henderson invokes Marcuse to argue that what the student protesters from the hard left are about is repressive tolerance. He asserts we are anonymously following Marcuse to shutting down debate.

In fact we are opening the debate up. The voice of the voiceless is being heard at last.  And the ruling elite and their apologists like Henderson do not like it one bit that ordinary people have a say or hear views that challenge the duopoly of neoliberal political power in Australia.

I suggest Henderson actually read Marcuse to understand what he is saying. I especially like this from Marcuse: “Conversely, what is proclaimed and practiced as tolerance today, is in many of its most effective manifestations serving the cause of oppression.”

Serving the cause of oppression is Henderson’s role and The Australian’s more generally. Voices of dissent are to be suppressed, and falsely vilifying them as the enemies of freedom is, Henderson seems to think, one way to protect the tea club debates between the elite over how to screw the rest of us.

That Henderson views the exercise by the downtrodden of their right to be heard as some sort of repression of free speech shows how thoroughly imbued he is with the right of the one percent to dominate all public discourse.

BY the way Gerard, and for accuracy’s sake, it is Socialist Alternative, not Socialist Alliance, at the forefront of these demonstrations, along with many others. I guess all socialists look alike to you in your rush to condemn those of us who are not part of the cosy cloister of conservatives.

Here’s what Jacqueline Maley says in the Sydney Morning Herald:

The Education Minister identified the group Socialist Alternative as being behind the protests. Ridah Hassan, 22, who is a Socialist Alternative member and education officer for the Sydney University SRC, was involved in both the Q&A protest and the Sydney University incident with the Foreign Minister.

As the anger and protests spread and deepen, I think The Australian has a real problem. It can of course bolster its support among, to use Paul Keating’s words, the right wing nutters, but if it wants to build a bigger audience then it is going to have to relate to those protesting and the millions who hate the Budget and the government. Good luck with overcoming your Murdoch group think.

Henderson’s attack on the protesters reminded me of something he wrote about the Iraq War and media ‘bias’ against it. In Issue 20, Vol. 7, No. 2, July, 2003 of The Sydney Institute Quarterly, Henderson says, as evidence of that bias, among other things, at page 32:

7 March. Self confessed Trotskyite John Passant writes to the Canberra Times with a word of advice for the oppressed people of Iraq. Namely that “US bombs will not liberate Iraq” and that “revolution from below is the only way Iraq can truly liberate itself from Saddam’s dictatorship”.  

First, I am not a self-confessed Trotskyite.  Trotskyite is it a term of Stalinist abuse. Facts don’t appear to be Gerard’s strong point. (In fact to be honest I don’t think the International Socialist Tendency is Trotskyist, either.  That is an esoteric debate for another day. )

Second, how is that US ‘liberation’ of Iraq coming along now Gerard? Let history and readers be the judge of our respective positions.



Pingback from News Corpse: Gerard Henderson as the walking dead? | OzHouse
Time May 24, 2014 at 11:11 am

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Comment from Wombo
Time May 24, 2014 at 3:20 pm

I’m just going to leave this here:
“They ended up, predictably enough, at the pub. The loose collection of Greens supporters, Young Labor activists, Socialist Alliance and Socialist Alternative members caucused around a jug of beer at Bar Broadway to gauge the effect of their protest.”

Comment from John
Time May 24, 2014 at 3:55 pm

At least they mention the groups involved. I know the Socialist Alternative people, who from the Alliance as Alliance members was there? Interestingly Maley doesn’t mention the Education Action Network in the sentence quoted, but does later on. Maley also says Socialist Alternative is behind the protests.

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