Our Common Cause: Seeing Red web page launched

April 20, 2005

Seeing Red, the "forum of social, political and cultural dissent" initiated by the Socialist Alliance, has launched its web site (visit <http://www.seeing-red.org>). The arrival of the site comes with the third issue of the magazine, which continues the tradition of lively articles and vivid look that have established it as a fresh face in Australian left publishing.

When fully up and running, the Seeing Red web page will carry all articles that have appeared in previous issues, as well as two or three "teasers" from the magazine's current issue.

The site will also allow readers to comment on all published pieces, helping Seeing Red fulfil its job as a space for serious discussion among all of us who are fighting to develop alternatives to neoliberal capitalism, its ideology, its institutions and its parties. For example, visitors to the site will be able to bring up the first issue of Seeing Red's new column, "The Stirrer" — home to provocative opinion pieces aimed at shaking up debate.

Free-lance historian and Seeing Red editorial board member Humphrey McQueen leads off strongly with a piece arguing that the Socialist Alliance's standing in elections is a waste of time and money. Faced with such argumentation visitors to the Seeing Red web page have a valuable opportunity — to read, to reflect and to respond!

Each issue of the magazine has a theme or "organising thread". For the latest issue it's education — what it is under today's capitalism and what it could be. Anthony Ashbolt leads off with an expose of "Private schooling as a way of life", while Johanna Wyn, the director of Melbourne University's Youth Research Centre, exposes the hollowness of the angst about the boys "falling behind" the girls in today's secondary schools.

Trevor Cobbold asks whether there really is a literacy crisis (as federal education minister Brendan Nelson bewails) while Melbourne primary school teacher Peter Curtis reminds us of the enormous liberating value of the work of Brazilian educationalist Paulo Freire.

Jamie Doughney tackles the gloom over Howard's victory still prevalent among so many commentators in this country (for example, Robert Manne). He concludes that "hope thrives in an activist perspective unsullied by the ALP. That sounds very trite, but it is no less true for its limp expression."

The magazine's regular interview features Ralph Nader, who gives a precious insight into why George Bush won last November's US presidential election. Coupled with a piece by Mike Davis, Nader tackles the question of how deep-going the "conservatism" of the US working people really is.

Jeffrey St. Clair provides a sharp analysis of how and why the US Greens nosedived in 2004 after their annus mirabilis in 2000 — the whole sorry episode is a classic lesson in how "lesser evilism" in left politics (sacrificing all to help the Democrats against Bush) simply leaves the enemy camp as a whole stronger and our side weaker.

This latest Seeing Red also includes two contributions on the Indigenous struggle in the light of Redfern, Palm Island and the Howard government's "mutual obligation" contracts with some Aboriginal communities. Their authors know what they're talking about: Ray Jackson heads up the Indigenous Social Justice Association and is a leading figure in the campaign to force the NSW Carr government to reopen the inquiry into the death of Redfern teenager T.J. Hickey. Margaret and David Scrimgeour have 30 years of experience working in health and education in Indigenous communities in South Australia and Western Australia.

The issue's main focus "overseas" is Venezuela. Famous Chilean social analyst and Marxist Marta Harnecker explains how it is that the Venezuelan military has played a progressive and vital role in the country's Bolivarian revolution, while veteran Portuguese analyst Miguel Urbano Rodrigues spells out the huge challenges the inspiring Venezuelan process of growing popular power faces.

The feature artist is left feminist cartoonist Judy Horacek, who tells her own story in "Cartooning as gentle revolution", while the inside back cover continues to feature the acerbic sketches of Heinrich Hinze.

With its third issue and web page launch, Seeing Red continues to make modest but definite progress toward its ambition of being a space for thoughtful, informative, useful (and irreverent) dissent. And the more our readers make use of its new site, the greater that progress will be.

Dick Nichols

[The author is the managing editor of Seeing Red.]

From Green Left Weekly, April 20, 2005.
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