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John Passant

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July 2015



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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)



Does Australia need a SYRIZA?

The rise of SYRIZA in Greece and the ongoing degeneration of the Australian Labor Party raise an obvious question. Does Australia need a SYRIZA?  More precisely, does the Australian working class want and need a SYRIZA?

Obviously the economic and political situation in Greece is not comparable to that of Australia. The impetus in the class for a radical left reformist party does not exist here. Yet in one respect there is a similarity. The Labor Party might be PASOK (the old party of social democracy in Greece) in waiting.

PASOK was at the centre of the vicious austerity program. In 2012 it entered into a coalition Government with the party of the bourgeoisie, New Democracy, to implement more austerity. The equivalent in Australia would eb a joint Labor and Liberal Parfty government.

In the January 2015 election PASOK won just 4.68% of the vote and polls since then put its support at about 3%.

The Labor Party’s trajectory since Hawke won power in 1983 and implemented a thoroughgoing neoliberal program with the agreement of the trade union bureaucracy has been from capitalist workers’ party to CAPITALIST workers’ party. This is one expression of its dominant role – to manage capitalism.

Labor is possibly on the way to becoming a capitalist party with no organic or formal, but always indirect, links through the union bureaucracy to the working class. Much of the talk for example about empowering the Party’s rank and file is in fact cover for that final break of the party with the class.

Such a result would spell the end of Labor as a useful tool for the Australian ruling class. It was those links to the trade union bureaucracy which enabled Hawke and Keating to implement their neoliberal agenda and open the door for the rise of Howard and then Abbott.

That is a slow motion process. Labor in power in a time of economic crisis implementing savage attacks on health, education, pensioners, the sick, the unemployed, wages and jobs may see the party go the way of PASOK.

Is something akin to SYRIZA the answer? The Australian working class aren’t demanding it, yet. The scloretic trade union bureaucracy would rather commit hari-kiri (which the Accord effectively meant they have been doing for the last 3 decades) than abandon the past. However the direction of the ALP might force them to begin the process of building a new party of the tarde union bureuacracy to maintain their position as the retailer of labour power to the bosses and as supplicant to capital.

The missing element in all of this is a mobilised working class or at least mobilised sections of the class.   The hope is there. The desire for a better world, a social democratic world, arises in the working class as a consequence of the sale of their labour power to the bosses. Surveys and polls show most workers on most economic and social issues to be well to the left of the Labor Party.

The Greens might be an initial beneficiary of any increase in disillusionment with Labor. They are not however a party of the left or the working class.  There is a reason why they haven’t won a major hearing among workers – they don’t talk to workers let alone have a base in the class.

SYRIZA came out of the collapse of PASOK, splits in the Communist Party and radical and revolutionary groups all coalescing for different reasons in the new organisation.  It has about it an unstable class stability which the referendum has and will exacerbate.

The momentum from the referendum has enervated the left both inside and outside SYRIZA. The desire of Greek workers for the rejection of austerity will not be ended by a tawdry compromise with European capital. This contains within it the potential for a further shift to the left by Greek workers.

That required, and requires, revolutionary groups on the left in Greece to build and to have built before the world changed.  That is building both through actions and through thinking and study to analyse and understand the world.

I cannot predict if the Australian working class will abandon Labor and create a radical left party akin to SYRIZA, although the portents are there. My task at the moment is to help build Solidarity, a small group of revolutionaries who believe that the emancipation of the working class must be the act of the working class.

If you want to be one part of building for the future today, check us out.


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