Alex Salmon

The Killing Season: A History of the Indonesian Massacres, 1965-66
By Geoffrey B Robinson
Princeton University Press, 2018
429 pages

From October 1965 to mid-1966, one of the worst mass killings of the 20th century took place in Indonesia. Anywhere between 500,000 and more than 1 million people associated with the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) were estimated to have been killed and more than 1 million others jailed, some for more than 3 decades, in an anti-leftist purge led by the Indonesian military.

The former British colony of Malaya (now Malaysia) gained its independence on August 31, 1957. However, this was based on a deal by the Malay elites represented by the conservative United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) and Chinese and Indian capitalist classes with British colonialism. This deal preserved the privileges of the Malay elite.

Ten years earlier in 1947, a different vision of independence based on popular democratic participation and multi-ethnic solidarity came together in the “People’s Constitution”.

Malaysia’s May 9 general elections caused a shock upset, with the Barisan Nasional (BN) losing control of the government for the first time since independence in 1957. This was a historic win for the opposition against the corrupt, authoritarian ruling party.

With general elections likely to be held in May, the left and democratic forces in Malaysia are discussing how to respond.

In Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 11-12 last year, an infamous mobilisation of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other far-right groups was met by anti-fascist and anti-racist protesters. In violent clashes, attacks by the far right resulted in many counter-protesters being injured and one dead — anti-fascist activist Heather Hayes, who was killed when a fascist drove a car into the crowd.

US President Donald Trump, whose election was supported by and emboldened the far right, refused to condemn the far right, stating: “You had many fine people on both sides.”

The award-winning Netflix animated black comedy show BoJack Horseman follows the misadventures of BoJack Horseman (Will Arnett), an anthromorphic horse and washed-up former TV star trying to remain relevant in Hollywoo (formerly Hollywood, until the “D” on the famous sign gets stolen).

In Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower, which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, director Joe Piscatella depicts Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong and his comrades struggles from 2011-16 against Chinese government attempts to impose control on the former British Colony.

Up to 1000 people gathered outside state Parliament on November 15 to protest against plans by the Western Australian Coalition government to sell the state’s main electricity provider, Western Power.

The protest was organised by the Use your Power Group, headed by the Australian Services Union (ASU) and Electrical Trades Union. There was also strong support from the Maritime Union of Australia, Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, United Voice, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and State School Teachers Union.

In response to the election of right-wing billionaire Donald Trump as president elect in the US, a “Dump Trump” protest was organised on November 12.

The action was in solidarity with African Americans, Latinos, LGBTQIA people, the disabled and women, all of whom have borne the brunt of attacks by Trump and his supporters as they exploited xenophobia, Islamophobia, racism, homophobia and misogyny during the long election campaign.

Pitched Battle: In the Frontline of the 1971 Springbok Tour of Australia By Larry Writer Scribe Melbourne, 2016 336pp, $35.00

“Sport and politics don’t mix” is often heard from politicians and media commentators when people target sporting events in acts of protest or athletes use their chosen sports to make political statement — for example Muhammad Ali and, more recently, US NFL star Colin Kaepernick. However, sport is often politicised in many different ways by the ruling class to reinforce the status quo.

BoJack Horseman Created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg Designed by Lisa Hanawalt Starring Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris Created by Raphael Bob-Wakesburg in collaboration with Lisa Hanawalt, who had previously worked with him on the web comic Tip Me Over, Pour Me Out, the critically acclaimed for BoJack Horseman is a black comedy satirising Hollywood and celebrity culture. The 2016 Critics Choice Award winning show follows the exploits of BoJack (Will Arnett), a washed up former star as he struggles to regain relevance in Hollywood.

The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye is the account of the life of a Singaporean comic book artist who started drawing at the age of 16. From that point, his work depicts his life story in parallel to that of the history of Singapore.

Fighters in the Shadow: A New History of the French Resistance By Robert Gildea Faber & Faber Press, London 593 pages, 2015 Upon his inauguration on May 16, 2007, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited the Bois de Boulogne in Paris and paid homage to 35 anti-fascist resistance fighters shot by the occupying Nazis in August 1944, just before Paris was liberated. He also read the last letter of Guy Moquet, a 17-year-old Communist, to his parents on the eve of his execution by the occupiers in 1941 along with 26 other Communist resisters.
A by-election in the Single Member Constituency of Bukit Batok, which has about 25,000 eligible voters, is needed following the resignation of the People's Action Party (PAP) MP David Ong on March 14. The PAP has ruled Singapore since 1959, when it was still a British colony. Its rule has relied on a combination of independent Singapore’s affluence in comparison with its neighbours and political repression. Ong won 72% of the vote in the September’s general elections, defeating the Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) Sadasivam Veriyah (26.4%) and independent Samir Salim Neji (0.6%).
More than 1000 people rallied on the steps of Western Australia’s Parliament House on February 23 to protest against the Western Australian government’s anti-protest laws.

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