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John Passant

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March 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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Who are the socialist group Solidarity in Australia?

For readers who may not know, two weeks ago I joined Solidarity, a small socialist organisation in Australia. The first step in explaining my decision is to explain who Solidarity are. Their ‘About Us’  section on the Solidarity Online website set out below does this very well.

WHO ARE SOLIDARITY?

Solidarity is a socialist group with branches across Australia.

We are opposed to the madness of capitalism, which is plunging us into global recession and misery at the same time as wrecking the planet’s future. We are taking the first steps towards building an organisation that can help lead the fight for an alternative system based on mass democratic planning, in the interests of human need not profit. The name Solidarity invokes one of the basic values of working class struggle—standing together in the fight for our rights. But it also stands for the wider solidarity we want to see uniting those fighting for change around different issues into a united fightback against the capitalist system and the ruthless drive for profits that dominates our world.

We’re committed to building social movements and the wider left, through throwing ourselves into struggles for social justice, against racism and to strengthen rank-and-file unionism. We’re active in the movement for refugee rights, the student movement and the fight for education, the campaign to scrap the NT intervention and as activists in our unions.

Solidarity is a member of the International Socialist Tendency, a network of socialist groups around the world that shares a common political outlook.

Join us in the struggle to end the wars, inequality and environmental destruction that threatens our world. Please get in contact with us or find out more about our events and the campaigns we are involved in, or come along to our regular meetings. Join our Facebook page for regular updates. United we can win a better world.

Read what we have to say on current issues: climate change and the carbon taxthe Abbott government,refugee rights, Aboriginal rights, Egypt’s revolution and the Arab Spring and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

WHERE DO WE COME FROM?

Solidarity was formed in February 2008 when three socialist groups—Solidarity, Socialist Action Group and the International Socialist Organisation—voted to merge into a new organisation. All three groups shared a common commitment to the politics of the International Socialist Tendency and the traditions of socialism from below. As a result our three former publications Red Alert, Socialist Worker and Solidarity have been replaced by the publication of a monthly magazine, Solidarity and the Solidarity website.

WHAT DO WE STAND FOR?

Solidarity 2009 Conference agreed to this statement of our basic principles:

What we stand for

Capitalism is a system of crisis and war

Capitalism is a system of competition, crisis, and war based on exploitation of workers, in which production is for profit not human need. Through environmental degradation and climate change capitalism has become a threat to humanity’s future and life on the planet. Although workers create society’s wealth, they have no control over production or distribution.

Capitalism stifles democracy and smothers creative freedom, creating a society of insecurity and alienation.

Workers power and socialism is the solution

We stand for socialism, a society that would be based on democratically elected workers councils which control and plan the economy to produce for human need and environmental sustainability.

The authoritarian states like the USSR/Russia and China were not socialist but a form of state capitalism where workers had no control over society and were denied even basic rights.

The working class – because of its role in production – has the power to challenge and change the existing system and create a better world. To help realise this potential we are active building our unions and the confidence of rank and file workers in their own power.

What about elections and parliament?

Parliament, the army, the police and the courts are institutions of the capitalist state. The state’s role is to maintain the dominance of the corporate ruling class over the rest of society. It cannot be taken over and used by the working class.

While parliament can be a platform for socialists and while the outcome of elections matter, real change doesn’t come through parliament. It is won by mass action in strikes, protests and demonstrations.

We are internationalists
The working class is international and the struggle for socialism has no national boundaries. We oppose everything that turns workers from one country against those from another. Only by struggling together can we successfully challenge the power of the multinational corporations and our own nation states. We oppose imperialism and support all genuine national liberation struggles.

Australia is an imperialist power in its own right. We oppose Australian nationalism and immigration controls. We welcome migrants and refugees.

Respect and liberation

We oppose sexism, racism and homophobia. We stand against the oppression of women, Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders, migrants, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. We oppose discrimination against Muslims and Middle Eastern people.

Discrimination and oppression demoralises and denies rights to its victims. It weakens working class solidarity by dividing workers against themselves.

We campaign to defend and extend all democratic rights.

Linking up the struggles

We are active in movements for environmental, social and economic change. We develop the ideas and strategies needed to help campaigns win their demands. We bring together activists in the working class and the other movements to strengthen each movement and build a common struggle against the system.

Educate, agitate, organise

Socialism cannot be introduced from above – through parliament or a coup or by a party acting in the name of the working class. The emancipation of the working class must be the act of the working class itself. Power can only be taken from the ruling class by the conscious action of the vast majority of the working class.

We are an organisation of activists, anti-capitalists and revolutionary socialists committed to socialism from below.
A democratic revolutionary party is necessary to deepen resistance to capitalism and to build a movement to overthrow and replace the system.

Solidarity members are beginning to lay the basis for a party by actively participating in today’s struggles.

Another world is necessary. Another world is possible. If you want to help build the struggle for a better world, join us.

You can contact Solidarity via the contact section of our website, via Facebook or via email at solidarity@solidarity.net.au

Alternatively, you can also contact our national office in Sydney.

Phone: 02 9211 2600 (or +61 02 9211 2600 if ringing from outside Australia.)

Post:

PO Box 375
Sydney South NSW Australia 2012

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Comments

Comment from MarkH
Time March 27, 2015 at 5:51 am

I find the varieties of revolutionary socialist expression in Australia very interesting and the vagaries of their nuanced differences makes me curious….their is a clear history and theoretical stream to why this is so but it still remains my goal to talk across these differences in common cause with the wider goals of smashing capitalism and building genuine workers democracy…recognising differences is not an excuse to compromise on fitting for the mentioned goals.
I hope you make a constructive where you feel comfortable.

Comment from yugoslav
Time March 27, 2015 at 12:35 pm

I am a socialist. When I came to Australia , almost 25 years ago, and become an Australian citizen I voted in my first election for some socialist alliance ( I forgot the exact name). They got around 1% of votes. Next time at NSW state election I wanted to vote for them again but could not find them on the list (they missed to register themselves for that election). I realised then that the socialist left in Australia is a joke. They still got around 1 % of the votes. Their voters are mostly young ones (still idealist, you can find them selling “Left green”) and some old leftist (John you probably know all this much better than me). This is time of Internet and I am often going to those socialist web sites. au looking and hopping for some interesting comments or opinions. You would expect some lively conversations, commentaries, passionate discussions, blogs, diversity of opinions but almost nothing is there, just a few comments. In the media as TV the socialist left is not existant. All of that can give you proper sense what is future of that movement. Now I am voting for Greens , as best worst option. I almost agree with John of their assessment in the left to right spectrum, a little left from the centre, accommodating some of neoliberal thinking, as free market as solution for climate change problems, and a fear of everything that has to do with the nuclear industry ( I support Bob Hawke proposal for Australia to become world nuclear waste dump, If we think of the world problem of nuclear waste deposit , we should think internationally as socialists or leftists and look for the best and the safest solution . That idea comes to me at my first arrival flight over Australia from Singapore to Sydney looking down to those vast stone deserts. The Aborigines could be major beneficiaries of such project. This is total diversion from the topic but I could not resist opportunity).
1. Workers power and socialism is the solution
“We stand for socialism, a society that would be based on democratically elected workers councils which control and plan the economy to produce for human need and environmental sustainability.”
Marx “free association of producers” is more modern and original then this.
2. What about elections and parliament?
“Parliament, the army, the police and the courts are institutions of the capitalist state. The state’s role is to maintain the dominance of the corporate ruling class over the rest of society. It cannot be taken over and used by the working class.
While parliament can be a platform for socialists and while the outcome of elections matter, real change doesn’t come through parliament. It is won by mass action in strikes, protests and demonstrations.”
I also read Rosa but I do not believe the she will support any of this. All of this belongs to 19th or the beginning of 20th century in Europe and it was real possibility then and reflected real situation and the power of working class, but now, only if you believe in parallel universe.
PS
Sorry for my English, I do not have good excuse for that.

Comment from John
Time March 30, 2015 at 5:49 am

Thanks. Your English is fine and no need to apologise anyway. Your thoughts are the important issue and they are welcome here. I disagree with the idea of dumping nuclear waste here, as do many Aborigines. The Muckaty campaign against that is just one high profile example. I also think that Rosa would agree with the assessment of elections Solidarity put forward and that workers’ councils are the historical expression of the class’s attempts to smash the capitalist state and overthrow capitalism, as Marx learnt from the Paris Commune.