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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
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Sick kids and paying upfront

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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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Australia will take Syrian refugees, by Christ

Australia is going to take more refugees from Syria.

We currently take the grand total of 13,750, a cut from a few years ago of not quite 7000. The government has made no announcement about increasing this number, only that it would increase the number of refugees from Syria, at the expense of refugees from elsewhere.

Not only that but Australia will give preference to Syrians from persecuted minorities. This is code, as Nationals’ backbencher George Christensen told us, for taking Christians.

Cue (Un)Employment Minister Eric Abetz then telling us that the Christian community are the most persecuted religion in the world. Listening to Eric Abetz made me think that maybe, just maybe, the lizard people really have taken over. However, there is a (very twisted) logic to his lizardry.

Of course Christians are persecuted in many areas of the Middle East and elsewhere. But ISIS doesn’t pick who it oppresses in Syria. As well as Christians it also attacks Shia Muslims, in fact anyone who doesn’t convert to their fanatical Sunni version of Islam.

And by the way, just to introduce some facts into the argument, it is the Assad government which has killed the greatest numbers of Syrians, not ISIS. So when you hear about the barbarism that is ISIS, remember, as well as the fact that ISIS is the consequence of the US led barbarism in killing over a million Iraqis, that Assad has killed 87.5% of those who have died in the civil war in the first half of this year.

 

There are no grades of persecution, so why is the Abbott Government making this ‘Christians first’ argument?  There are a number of reasons. David Pope’s cartoon in the Canberra Times of Wednesday 9 September 2015 gives a fair summary:

 

The magnificent vigils around Australia for the little boy Alyan who drowned in the waters off Turkey and for other refugees have mobilised tens of thousands of ordinary Australians to support refugees and asylum seekers.

This has scared the government. One of their few seemingly popular policies has been to demonise refugees.

The mass movement here in support of asylum seekers, in part itself inspired by the wonderful scenes of ordinary Germans and Austrians welcoming refugees in the last few days, has forced the government to attempt to find a balance that keeps the stop the boats message untainted by actually letting Syrian boat people and other refugees into Australia.

At the same time as wanting to give the impression of helping refugees, the flip side is that the Abbott government doesn’t want to alienate its xenophobic and racist base.  As Eliza Borrello and Anna Henderson report on ABC News:

‘One backbencher told the ABC the message being sent to the Prime Minister by some in the Coalition was clear: “No more Muslim men.” ‘

Now you could be as crude as Senator Corey Bernardi and claim Aylan drowned because his father was trying to make it to a richer country to get dental treatment. In fact ‘the family first fled to Kobane from Damascus in 2012 after Abdullah, [Aylan’s father] was detained and tortured by the government.’ They then fled Kobane when ISIS took over. ISIS executed 30 of their family members.

So Bernardi’s claims are exposed for what they are – lies to defend white Australia and keep the crude anti-refugee rhetoric that worked so well for Abbott until a week ago alive.

Such an approach doesn’t work well when the lies of government about refugees are collapsing before our very eyes, captured no more poignantly than in the pictures of Aylan on the beach in Turkey and inspiring millions around the world to fight for the rights of refugees.

Remember, this is the government which, during the Rohingya boat crisis, said to those thousands of people at risk of drowning in waters near us, via, the Prime Minister ‘Nope, nope, nope.‘ This is  Prime Minister who only a few days ago was saying that Aylan would not have drowned if Europe had stopped the boats.

The mass movement for refugees and outpouring of compassion has forced a turnaround by this rotten government.

The more sensible dog whistling racists and xenophobes in Government have changed their tune slightly. In what they hope is just a sop to the developing mass movement for refugees they have said they will bring in more Syrian refugees. In an attempt to shore up their racist base they have decided to limit this to Christians under the euphemism of persecuted minorities.

In its stupidity the government thinks this will assuage the concern the racists and xenophobes it encourages have about letting refugees into the country. By limiting it to Christian Syrians the government is dog whistling. ‘See, they are Christian, just like us. Not Muslim. No, not Muslim at all.’

Very sotto voce they can say: ‘And of course the other side – Labor, the Greens, the socialists and communists – they want to let Muslims into the country.’

Aylan was Kurdish. They are a persecuted group in Syria, Turkey, and until recently Iraq. Bring them here.

Kurdish groups in Syria have been at the forefront of the fight against ISIS. The Turks, our supposed allies, under the pretext of bombing terrorists, have been bombing the Kurds.

Much of the debate so far has been about numbers. The Labor ‘Opposition’ has said we can take an extra ten thousand Syrian refugees. The Greens have said 20,000. Others have said as many as 30,000. Well if we are going to talk numbers than how about 200,000?

Germany will on current estimates take 800,000 refugees this year. Germany and Australia are comparable rich countries. Germany has not quite four times Australia’s population. So why aren’t we talking about Australia taking 200,000 refugees this year? We used to take that if not more migrants. We could do it easily.

In fact now is the time for socialists to argue for open borders. Let whoever wants to come here do so.  These people are fleeing wars and civil wars the West set in train through its invasions and its support for pro-Western dictators.

It is our responsibility to take a large number of Syrian refugees since our ruling classes caused the problems.

The way to force the government to be more generous is to turn out in bigger numbers for the next unified pro-refugee rallies. There are ones planned around Australia for 11 October.

The way to smash the bipartisan demonising of refugees and the inhumane turn back the boats policy is to keep the movement moving to the left, attracting more people in by bigger and better demands and raising the issue of mass civil disobedience for refugees to force this rotten reactionary government to act.

And finally, in all of this, what of the few thousand asylum seekers and refugees locked in the concentration camps on Manus Island and Nauru? Free them too. If Aylan had tried to come to Australia by boat, he would now be on Manus or Nauru, his mother threatened with rape, his father with being bashed.  He would grow up to a world of no education and no hope and ultimately with the threat of being sent back to Syria.

We will not change the world for the better if we sit silently in our rooms. Build the campaign for refugees. Reclaim our humanity. Destroy the bipartisan demonising of asylum seekers.

 

 

 

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Comments

Comment from Peter Johnson
Time September 9, 2015 at 12:05 pm

it would be a ‘novel idea’ perhaps to propose that ALL borders should be open to anyone so that ALL the world’s resources could be equally accessed in a socialist framework . . . . Are all equal or are some ‘more’ equal than others?

Comment from Mike
Time September 9, 2015 at 2:33 pm

Would removal of border also include removal of private property boundaries and trespass laws?

I would love to come around and sleep in John’s spare bed for a while.

Pingback from Australia will take Syrian refugees, by Christ – Written by JOHN PASSANT | winstonclose
Time September 9, 2015 at 3:35 pm

[…] Posted by John, September 8th, 2015 – under Abbott government, Asylum seekers, Aylan Kurdi, Refugees, Resistance. Comments: 1 […]

Comment from John
Time September 9, 2015 at 4:46 pm

You can use my toothbrush.