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John Passant

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September 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)



The problem is capitalism, not just who manages it


I have just sent this to the Canberra Times:

I enjoyed Anthony Ricketts’ article on the rise of left-wing politics in countries like the UK, the US and Canada. (‘Voters given stark choices’ Times2 The Canberra Times 7 September 2015 page 1.)

I agree with his view that this left-wing alternative is not on offer in Australia. It is one of the reasons I am considering standing at the next federal election under the rallying cry: ‘Put a socialist in the Senate.’

However, as the rise and fall of SYRIZA in Greece as a left-wing party shows, the reality is more complex than just putting out different policies and explaining them clearly to people and winning support. In government SYRIZA proved itself a more successful tool of capital and implementer of austerity than the Conservatives were.

The same is true of the Labor Party here in Australia. The first and ‘best’ neoliberal government Australia has had was the Hawke-Keating duumvirate. Their neoliberal reasoning, policies and actions paved the way for Howard just as the neoliberalism of Rudd/Gillard/Rudd paved the way for Abbott.

One of the reasons for this capitulation of social democracy is that parties like the UK Labour Party, SYRIZA, and the Australian Labor Party are about managing capitalism, not challenging it. This means their options for action are limited by the health of the capitalist system.

In times of economic crises, the social democratic parties have again and again proven themselves to be just as adept at attacking workers and shifting the burden of the crisis of profitability on to the working class as their conservative counterparts. In fact, as the Accord in the 80s and 90s in Australia shows, they are sometimes better at it because they can convince the ‘leadership’ of the working class to accept their neoliberal prescriptions, with disastrous results for our class and for the trade union bureaucrats (or their sons and daughters) who sold us out.

While I think it is fantastic that the likes of Jeremy Corbyn are raising a whole range of issues from taxing the rich to re-nationalising public goods, from cutting billion from defence spending to supporting refugees and recognising Palestine, and by doing that giving hope to the millions disenfranchised by the tweedledee and tweedledum of neoliberal politics, we need to be clear that the real problem is capitalism, not just who manages it and how they do so.

In the long term the only way we can win a better society is by us, the vast majority, uniting to overthrow capitalism and organising production democratically to satisfy human need.



Comment from al loomis
Time September 9, 2015 at 10:34 am

nearly there. we need democracy, to begin with. with the tools of democracy, referendum, initiative and recall, the electorate can shape society without violence.
how to get democracy? not hard, if most want it. but most just don’t want any change, so long as job and waste collection are reliable. you need citizen quality people, and they are few. very few in english speaking nations.

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