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John Passant

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November 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)



Open letter to the organising committee of the Sydney rally against Reclaim Australia on November 22

We write to express our disappointment in the way the demonstration [in Sydney] against Reclaim Australia concluded on Sunday.

The rally itself was very good. We outnumbered the racists by at least 3:1. The speakers were representative of the some of the key social forces we need to mobilise in much larger numbers if we are to push back the Islamophobic offensive – unionists, Muslims, Aboriginal people and the broader left.

Clear points were made against the demonisation of Muslims under the current government and the Western bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria, the importance of justice for Aboriginal people and the need for working class unity in the fight against racism, war and Islamophobia.

Aboriginal leader Ken Canning, whose photo was used to promote the demonstration, made a strong point as part of his speech – and again towards the end of proceedings – that the rally should remain stationary and any attempt to march would only lead to pointless confrontation with the police. This position was widely supported in the crowd with clapping and cheering.

The rally looked to be ending strong and unified, when the chair Omar Hassan, from Socialist Alternative, announced that some people wanted to march – and quickly proceeded to lead one without the chance for any discussion for or against.

The march did not make it 100 metres down the road before it was broken up by police, including horses. We condemn this violence used by police, reject media suggestions protestors deserved to be attacked and defend the right to demonstrate. But this outcome was entirely predictable. Many people left feeling confused and demoralised. People had not attended the rally to pointlessly confront police, but to make a political stand against racism and Reclaim Australia.

It is an urgent imperative that we strengthen the movement against Islamphobia and war by mobilising far wider layers of people than we had at Martin Place today. This needs to focus not just on fringe far right groups, but mobilisations against the government policies driving the racism. It needs to include Muslims, many of whom do not feel confident to take to the streets in the current climate of fear.

The rally today had a number of strengths that can be built on to take this movement forward. But the unnecessary and undemocratic confrontation with police was a step back and must not be repeated. We will need a more democratic, honest approach to organising to make any future events successful.


Ken Canning, Murri activist and rally speaker
Ahmed Aboushabana, community activist and rally speaker
Elizabeth Jarrett, Goori activist and rally speaker
Kyol Blakeney, 2015 Sydney University SRC President
Clare Fester, Solidarity and rally organising committee member
Padraic Gibson, Jumbunna Research and Solidarity
Bruce Knobloch, Greens activist
Susan Price, National co-convenor Socialist Alliance
Ian Rose, Greens activist
Mia Sanders anti-racist activist, Socialist Alliance and rally organising committee member
Amy Claire Thomas, Solidarity and rally organising committee member
Evan Van Zijl, Greens activist
Natalie Wasley, anti-nuclear and Aboriginal rights campaigner



Comment from Len Botterill
Time November 24, 2015 at 7:29 pm

Yeah. You have right on your side. Don’t get sucked in to confrontations, that’s a losing strategy in the public opinion stakes.

Comment from Sukhi
Time November 24, 2015 at 8:28 pm

Wow I remember when the left flight for the right to march. These people seem to be on the side of the cops.

Comment from Lorry
Time November 24, 2015 at 9:21 pm

I have never liked SAlt much, but I must say, this letter seems like a bit of ideological pointscoring.
The huge police presence and reaction to the attempt to march was offensive and disproportionate. My austrian friend was shocked at the cops heavyhandedness. It was ridiculous they were pushing bystanders and tourists across the road.
Meanwhile down at the racists reclaim aust demo there was far fewer police.
If people want to march on the road in attempt to confront reclaim australia, let them!

Comment from William Keeats
Time November 25, 2015 at 12:13 pm

I was there. I agree with the point concerning democracy. But had there been a vote I would have voted for. We should have the right to march if we want to.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time November 27, 2015 at 6:28 pm

The answer to this is quite simple. The government wants to ramp up racism and religionism so it can bring in more of its harsh draconian laws. Anyone who opposes those who are stirring trouble are working against the government achieving this aim.

In the future, we can expect the armed services to join the police to quell even bigger uprisings against capitalism and government’s financial assaults on the poor.

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