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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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Archive for 'Women’s oppression'

The Liberal Labor consensus: a recipe for disaster

We are faced with a fast food political choice on 14 September – between a Maccas Labor Party and a KFC opposition. We won’t be able to survive long on either diet, and sometime soon after 14 September they’ll be force feeding us austerity. There will be no foie gras, just dead ducks all over the place.

There is an alternative to this battle of the fast food political behemoths. It is the revolutionary left, small, isolated from the class, but building gradually and gaining a toehold in the debates of society. Socialist Alternative is part of that revolutionary left. Check us out if you want a steady and healthy political diet of debate and discussion, of ideas and action, of making sense of this slaughterhouse world.

Systemic sexism

Women like Gillard or Thatcher running the ship of the capitalist state make no difference to the dynamic drivers of the system – the need to extract surplus value from productive workers, women as cheap carers and raisers of the next generation of workers, and all that flows from that – the second class citizenship of women, the low wages, the systemic sexism.

What has made a difference is the organised struggles against oppression, especially militant action by unions. Julia Gillard is part of the problem. Ordinary working women are part of the solution.

Fighting for women’s liberation

Fighting for Women’s Liberation A public discussion by Socialist Alternative Canberra 6 pm Thursday 30 May Room G 52 Haydon-Allen Building ANU Why are women still oppressed? Who profits from sexism? How do we challenge it? Join our discussion on sexism and how to fight it today. https://www.facebook.com/events/643768505639396/

Marxism, feminism and women’s liberation

So at this point in history, when feminism has been under sustained attack for the last 40 odd years with no end in sight, the last thing we should feel compelled to do is attack feminism. On the contrary, we need to defend feminism on principle, as a defense of women’s liberation and opposition to sexism. What is the definition of feminism? The advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social and economic equality to men.

So I would argue that today, our emphasis should be more in keeping with that of the theory and practice of the Bolsheviks, in which we do not attempt to minimize the degree of oppression faced by women–or any other oppressed group–inside the working class, but rather to make a serious effort on every front to combat it.

Why are women still unequal?

Women are constantly told, in many different ways, that we are not equal and that our value lies in our bodies’ ability to please heterosexual men and sell products writes Kate Jeffreys in Socialist Alternative. Working women will be liberated by fighting against capitalism, alongside our working class brothers, for a world run for human need, rather than for corporate profits.

In the streets against rape

The recent protests are tied to the wave of fightbacks against the system on an international scale. The women and men who have been filling the streets of various Indian cities have seen, in the last few years, dictators fall and public spaces be occupied. We need to see these protests as not just standing in the tradition of past women’s movements in India, but also as echoes of Tahrir, Tunisia and Zuccotti Park–and inspiring, in their turn, a new cycle of protests for women’s rights.

it should be clear that the protests in India against rape and sexism are about rejecting the culture of misogyny and moralism imposed by the Indian state and the global free market alike. They are not about the narrow interests of any particular class of women.

It would be wrong to condemn these protests as “middle class.”

Mass movements need to be seen in their full course of development, in which numerous factors come together to produce confidence and mobilization. It is not a matter of checking whether these protesters were there to stand in support of Neelofar, Manorama or any other individual rape victim, but to see how these past cases were part of a slow build-up of anger that finally came to a head in the aftermath of December 16 in Delhi.

…it is an urgent task for the left to actively intervene and try to shape the movement -and the broader struggles for a future society free of rape and women’s oppression.

The roots of sexual assault

How can we achieve a world without rape or any form of sexual violence? Elizabeth Schulte in Socialist Worker US in June 2011 explains what socialists have to say about the question. Sexual assault is the product of a class society in which sexual relationships between men and women are shaped by alienation from their own bodies and emotions, and from one another.

Protests against rape and oppression in India

The hope lies in the huge numbers of people who came out to protest in India. Even better was the willingness to direct that anger against the society and culture that justifies rape and sexual violence. However the dire situation women face in India has led some Western pundits to described the country as the worst place in the world for women.

But the problems aren’t confined to India’s borders. Many countries, including Britain, have shockingly low conviction rates for rape. And attitudes that blame women for rape and sexual violence aren’t confined to India.

The latest attack in India shows the urgent need for a change in the treatment of women and in responses to rape. And the mass protests that followed it show that many people are prepared to fight for that change.

What role for socialists in the fight against sexist violence?

Marxists have an equally firm determination to eliminate all of the oppressions of capitalism. We don’t consider any of these oppressions as inherently more important than others.

And because these oppressions all serve the interests of the capitalists, every struggle against oppression is objectively an ally of every other such struggle. A central task for socialists is to spread an understanding of this objective reality.

Women’s liberation and socialism

WHILE ALL women may suffer the effects of oppression under capitalism, though to varying extents, the working class, made up of men and women, is the only force capable of winning an end to that oppression. The working class has the power to bring capitalist production to a halt, upend the old society and build a new one with all workers’ interests at its heart.

During that process, workers shed backward ideas that divide and cripple them, like sexism. But struggle alone doesn’t guarantee women’s liberation. Struggles can ebb and flow. A totally different society has to be fought for, one where the material conditions for a world free of oppression can flourish.

This means locating the roots of women’s oppression. A key is the family, an institution that depends largely on women’s unpaid labor in order to survive, and that allows capitalism to get for free what a saner system would have to provide.

In a society based on profit, where every penny is squeezed from the working class, the nuclear family makes complete sense, even though it creates a double burden on women that includes unpaid labor in the home. But under socialism, a society in which the priority is providing for human need, the privatized family makes no sense at all.