Ben Kohler

Global Imperialism & the Great Crisis: the Uncertain Future of Capitalism Ernesto Screpanti Monthly Review Press, 2014 New York, 256 pages The goal of Ernesto Screpanti’s new book is to theoretically elaborate a model of a new phase of imperialism. Screpanti’s argument is that the kind of imperialism written about by the likes of Russian revolutionary V.I. Lenin belongs more and more to the past. Although the work of people like Lenin retain relevance, Screpanti argues a new kind of imperialism has been taking shape over the past two decades.
A few months ago, the Daily Telegraph ran a headline, “The Ferals are Revolting”. That headline is very revealing, not just about the nature of the media, but also about how young people and students are seen in society in general. We are seen these things that are just supposed to work terrible jobs for terrible pay, and whatever our opinions are, they don’t really mean anything and we are just supposed to put up with it.
Murder in Mississippi John Safran Penguin, 2013 368 pages. There probably has never been a true-crime book quite like Murder in Mississippi. Melbourne-based “documentary filmmaker of sorts” John Safran filmed a segment for his most recent TV show Race Relations that featured Mississippian white supremacist Richard Barrett. Barrett took legal action, however, preventing any footage of him being used.
The Endless Crisis: How Monopoly-Finance Capital Produces Stagnation and Upheaval from the USA to China John Bellamy Foster & Robert W McChesney Monthly Review Press, 2012 There is growing evidence that the global economic crisis will not end any time too soon. Most mainstream economists have proven time and again to be incompetent when it comes to predicting the course of events in an economic crisis, never mind predicting the crisis itself.
Campaign group Illawarra Residents for Responsible Mining (IRRM) have been told to pay $40,000 before its case challenging the expansion of a coalmine can be heard in the Land and Environment Court. Coalmining company Gujarat is seeking approval to expand its coal mine in the residential area of Russell Vale, a suburb of Wollongong. The expansion will mean the company will mine seven times more coal a year compared to current levels, increasing the output to 3 million tonnes a year.
Local campaign group Illawarra Residents for Responsible Mining (IRRM) have been told to pay $40,000 before their case challenging the expansion of a coal mine will be heard in the Land and Environment Court. Coal-mining company Gujarat are seeking approval to expand their coal mine in the residential area of Russell Vale, a suburb of Wollongong. The expansion will mean the company will mine seven times more coal a year compared to current levels, increasing the output to 3 million tonnes a year.
November marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Rage Against the Machine's self-titled debut album. For two decades, the US band has helped activists all over the world ruin their stereo speakers by giving them something truly worthy of cranking up. Rage’s unique sound — a fusion of rap, hardcore punk and metal — is one of the most recognisable sounds in music, up there with Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Primus. Lead singer Zack de la Rocha, of Mexican heritage, writes incredible lyrics and raps them just as well. His voice is indispensable in making Rage's sound so recognisable.
The tour has been called one of the most ambitious of all time. The show has been called one of the greatest. Since The Wall tour started in late 2010, Roger Waters has awed hundreds of thousands of people with this astounding and complex show. And he’s taking it to one of the sites of of intense social struggle in July ― Quebec, in support of the huge student struggle that has broken out there.
The leader of the National Party, Senator Barnaby Joyce, held and anti-carbon tax rally at Wollongong’s Crown St Mall on July 13. The self-professed climate change denier drew quite a crowd, but not the kind he was hoping for. A small number of his supporters, perhaps 30, were present. But more than half the crowd noisily protested against Joyce. They included Socialist Alliance activists, several Greens members and people from various trade unions. The placards of Greens, Socialist Alliance and unionists visually dominated the scene.
US comics Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert held their “Rally for Sanity and/or Fear” in Washington DC on October 30, which drew about 200,000 to 300,000 people. Stewart, host of Comedy Central satirical news show The Daily Show, called a “Rally to Restore Sanity” on air. Colbert, former Daily Show member and now the “right-wing” host of Comedy Central show The Colbert Report, responded on his show, screened straight after Stewart’s, by calling for a “March to Keep Fear Alive”.
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