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John Passant

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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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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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Hate speech, legislation and resistance

This is my latest letter sent to the Canberra Times midday Tuesday.

John

The first two letters on Tuesday deserve a response. (Letters, August 9.)

James Allen misattributes Voltaire as saying that ‘man will never be free until the last politician is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.’ In fact most people attribute it to Diderot, although it is not clear that he ever said that exactly. But I digress.

The call for violence against religious people is unworthy of what used to be a journal of record but is now becoming a tabloid in form and content. Violence against religion will not free humanity; it will replicate the patterns of violence that currently help to enslave us.

R James complains that Shane Rattenbury has vilified Pauline Hanson and others for pointing out that her return ‘ … demonstrates that religious intolerance is alive and well.’ (Letters, Tuesday August 9). Rather than priests, Hanson’s target (and that of R James) is Muslims. It is a case of the same horse, different jockey. Vilifying Muslims is as bad as vilifying priests.

Worse, as we see from the arrest of Reclaim White Australia right wing extremist Phillip Galea, you cannot divorce hate speech from alleged hate crimes. One creates the conditions for the other.

Of course, religious vilification laws won’t stop the hate or its expression. Indeed such laws could well be used by certain groups to defend their homophobia during the plebiscite on same sex marriage.

Muslims are not the cause of growing inequality, falling real wages and the increasing precarity of employment. Neither are priests, or refugees, or Aborigines, or Asians, or blacks. [Fill in your favourite target for bigotry here.] This means that, as Jeremy Corbyn, the next Prime Minister of the UK has done and is doing, the task of the left is to explain that it is the economic system which produces these outcomes. We can and must offer hope of a better world to those who in the absence of any left wing alternative might be tempted by the siren song of racism or Islamophobia or violence.

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