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John Passant

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February 2015
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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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Please keep Tony. Please!

Tony Abbott is Prime Minister of Australia. For now.  We will know in the hours after 9 am on Monday morning (Australian Eastern Daylight Time) if the spill motion in the Liberal Party room meeting has been successful or not, and, if successful, if Abbott has retained his leadership. I hope he does.

Here is a ruling class that wants to accelerate the decades long shift of wealth from workers and the poor to capital and the rich. The most hated Budget in recent history reflected that philosophy, and  attempted to further commodify health services and higher education and reduce the social wage and social services.

Leaders matter.  What the ruling class wants and needs is not only a political leader with a program to continue and intensify that wealth shift from labour to capital but also to be able to implement it, and do so in a way that plucks the working class goose with the least hissing. Abbott is not that plucker. He has produced so much hissing that his party is languishing far behind Labor in the polls (and has been for some time, almost from the day the Coalition were elected on 7 September 2013.)

As Deputy Leader Julie Bishop allegedly said to Abbott, ‘you are your own worst enemy’. Well, he is our enemy too, but Bishop has a point.  His gaffes and buffoonery, coupled with his attacks on workers and the poor, only reinforce the sense among many that this man is not fit to lead. Abbott gives neoliberalism a bad name.

There is palpable anger against Abbott in voter land. He and all his faults are the focus of our contempt for neoliberalism. As is so often the case we mistake the person for the policies. However an incompetent like Abbott, totally divorced from the real world of ordinary working class people and raised and existing only in the Liberal Student hothouse that now both is and inflames the Liberal Party, helps us understand not only the reality of neoliberalism but the fragility of its political leaders.

Even if he wins, Abbott loses. Certainly his ‘reform’ agenda will slow, if it is not dead. The demands from business for cuts to penalty rates, for the abolition of the minimum wage, for tax reform, for tax cuts, will be slowed or dumped. The too hard basket will overflow, and the anxiety among the ruling class will  increase. Labor and its ability to deliver much the same agenda as the Liberals, with the complicity of the trade union bureaucracy, will become an option. Certainly one Murdoch journalist is now making that case. [Google Adam Creighton, ‘Only the Labor Party can repair budget bottom line’ The Australian 6 February. It might be behind a paywall but google can hopefully get you around that.]

There is I think a deeper reason for the seeming volatility of voters and the recent dumping of the first term Liberal and National Party governments in Victoria and Queensland and the same fate befalling the current Federal Liberal and National Party government. Many workers have a social democratic desire for a better world, born of the labour/capital relationship and the sale of our labour power. The Liberal and National Parties are confronting that dream with a reality of horrors that impact on people and with cuts or attempts to cut our living standards. They are increasing unemployment and have no answer to let alone a vision for addressing a rapidly slowing economy.

 

A different Liberal leader would still be selling us the same shit sandwich. In the case of Malcom Turnbull that shit sandwich would have some honey added. However the reality remains that a neoliberal shit sandwich is still a neoliberal shit sandwich and Turnbull is as committed as Abbott to deliver further shifts in wealth shifts from us to the 1%. The zigzagging and potholed path he would choose might be laden with honey, but honey on the road to Hades won’t save us from eternal neoliberal damnation.

The same is true of the Labor Party. The most successful neoliberal governments in Australia have been the Hawke and Keating Labor Party governments. Indeed by their worshipping at the altar of profit they laid the ground work for the ascendency of John Howard to government.

Hawke and Keating were so successful because they used a mainly compliant trade union leadership to impose real wage cuts on workers, privatise assets, introduce enterprise bargaining and attack the social wage.  Bill Shorten, the current Labor leader, is remarkable for his unremarkableness. He looks as ill-equipped to accelerate the wealth shift from labour to capital as Tony Abbott. Chris Bowen, his shadow Treasurer, knows what is needed; spending cuts and tax rises.

The key point is to fight all the forces of neoliberalism and their actions. The current Abbott Liberal and National Party government is weak. The Australian Council of Trade Unions has called a nationwide protest on 4 March to fight for our rights. This is a good first step. Of course the trade union bureaucrats see this as the end of the campaign. Their vision is a nice softly softly march and then shut up shop, vote Labor in 2016 and all will be well. It won’t. To paraphrase the Australian unions poster above, different parties, same agenda.

A concerted strike campaign (‘illegal’ of course) could drive the current rabble from office in weeks.  It would have support  from many workers if built properly. It might even drag Labor to the left although their parliamentarians are so imbued with neoliberalism that any such concerted and real resistance might leave Labor in its wake. ACTU called strikes won’t happen and in 2016 Bill Shorten will take the neoliberal mantle from Tony Abbott.  Not much will change, with another neoliberal lightweight in charge.

Update: The Liberal party room voted 61 against a motion for a spill of leadership positions and 39 for a spill so the motion was defeated. Abbott is still Prime Minister. However his position is untenable, perhaps in the short term but certainly in the medium term. If we assume that there was cabinet solidarity, and apply that 40% against to cabinet and the parliamentary secretaries etc, then the majority of Federal Liberal parliamentarians don’t want Abbott either.

 

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Comments

Comment from Ross
Time February 8, 2015 at 8:33 pm

I think they started to pull the rug from underneath Abbott when he made those infamous remarks about “shirt fronting Putin”

” The Suppository of all Wisdom” whom Abbott admits he is not, was not a humble man seeking truth, but one who wanted power at any cost,

These psychopaths of power lust never seem to get it and continue to make the same mistakes of hubris incessantly.

Alas Abbott is gone and the merry-go-round of lies, deception and incompetence will continue until people lose faith in our currencies.

I say we have 2 yrs max before a total economic collapse happens, which will be far worse than 1929 or the GFC crisis of 2008.

Comment from Kay
Time February 9, 2015 at 8:42 am

Abbott is the best thing going for Shorten at the moment! I would like to see Turnbull as PM – the sooner, the better.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time February 9, 2015 at 11:05 am

It seems I have accurately predicted this morning’s outcome. The federal Coalition made sure they got in before the Queensland election outcome was finalised, by reaffirming Tony Abbott as leader. If they left it any longer, the backlash from the community would have been greater.

I think it is possible that Joe Hockey could get blamed for everything and then shafted in favour of a move to Treasurer by Malcolm Turnbull.

I don’t think it will be long down the track before Tony Abbott is replaced by Malcolm Turnbull, with Julie Bishop possibly remaining as Deputy. Scott Morrison is also a possible contender for Deputy PM, now that he has impressed Coalition supporters by doing everything short of eating asylum seekers’ children.

However this will NOT be a move in a better direction, as Turnbull will bring in an Emissions Trading Scheme to empower third world nations at Australia’s expense. He also supports some Left wing social ideologies which would be detrimental to society. He is the true Fifth Columnist, not Tony Abbott.

Anyone who still thought that the major parties were not working towards a common agenda should have learned better after listening to Tony Abbott’s speech at the G20 here in Brisbane.

Tony Abbott’s contribution to the annihilation of the Newman government is further proof of the same.

People need to get away from ideas with which they are being constantly indoctrinated such as:

1. The PM is responsible for all decisions made.

2. Democrats and others sitting on the cross benches are “obstructionists”.

The truth is:

1. The PM does and says whatever he is told to say by globals. He is running one half of the Woolworths and Coles and politics.

2. A functioning democracy is run by independents and small loosely knit minor parties, who cross the floor whenever the need arises without being removed from office (except by the people at an election).

3. A functioning democracy has an upper house of review.

4. A functioning democracy does not sign thousands of international agreements, so its national sovereignty can be gradually taken away.

5. A functioning democracy retains 3 levels of government so it cannot easily be sold out on the world stage. Local government is small and only responsible for lowly jobs such as collecting the garbage.

6. The Prime Minister speaks as the chief representative of his nation, not as the mouthpiece of bankers and UN executives.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time February 9, 2015 at 11:12 am

Ross, I think our Prime Ministers are all only marionettes doing whatever they’re told. I have even met a met at a seminar whose daughter works for the UN in our federal parliament.

He agreed with me that we need to oppose all attempts to abolish state governments and amalgamate councils into comparatively powerless “mini states”.

Comment from Peter Hindrup
Time February 9, 2015 at 7:26 pm

I think four Pm’s in four years is about right. Don’t keep any of them long enough to qualify for the perks of office, and do not let any of them imagine that they are any more important than is the leader of a political party.

Let them sleep, with the reasonable hope that they may be leader tomorrow, but bloody doubtful about the day after.

Get rid of the big car, the guards, the lodge, Kirrabilli House.

They after all, at best a bod doing a job. At worst we have the likes of Abbott.

Comment from Ross
Time February 9, 2015 at 7:41 pm

Well John got his wish and Abbott stays for a while. I was quite surprised that Abbott was not deposed.I’m told that many in the Coalition have no time for Turnbull either but he is liked in the electorate for his supposed leftist views. Abbott has a 24% approval rating and glamour puss Turnbull has a 65% approval rating. So why did they stick with Abbott ? Murdoch wanted him gone and so would the Bankers who want the ETS scam. Is the Coalition trying to shun their invertebrate status and developing a backbone ? Hard to believe since most became pollies for the easy ride to power and a good pension.

Your are right about our pollies Lorikeet, they are nothing but puppets of our financial system.

Comment from Kay
Time February 10, 2015 at 6:18 am

Lorikeet

“The PM does and says whatever he is told to say by globals.” ????? Please explain! PRECISELY who is supposedly telling Abbott and Shorten (and everyone else in the world) what to do???? And PRECISELY for what purpose???? I mean, why do these “globals” want a Labor or Liberal government in particular? Either way, we have a capitalist system, so why should the “globals” care whether it is blue or red capitalism?

You never have any actual details to share, just your usual conspiracy theory bunkum.