Rapper Ozi Batla has long been known for speaking out on social issues. His band The Herd are well known for tracks such as “77%” ― which features the line “77% of Aussies are racist”, in response to an opinion poll result on the treatment of refugees during the Howard years. The Herd's “Burn Down the Parliament” caused controversy when it was coincidentally released the same week as the 2003 Canberra bush fires.
Nothin’ To Lose Zennith www.zennithboyz.com.au If the Red Hot Chili Peppers had injected themselves with a few litres of truth serum instead of enough smack to kill a blue whale, they could well have ended up sounding like largely Indigenous Australian band Zennith. Both build righteous rap and rock on reggae foundations, but Zennith swap the Chilis' dreamy, stoner poetry for clear-eyed political consciousness.
Treasure Islands By Nicholas Shaxson Random House, 2011 329 pages www.treasureislands.org Every once in a while a book comes along that changes a mass audience's view of the world. Naomi Klein’s 2000 book No Logo, which deconstructed consumer culture, was one. Treasure Islands, a revealing expose of tax havens written by financial journalist Nicholas Shaxson, is equally groundbreaking.
In the World of Light Tiki Taane Touring Qld, NSW & Vic: May 19-28 www.tikidub.com Interview by Mat Ward Chart-topping New Zealand musician Tiki Taane became an unlikely poster boy for free speech on April 9 when he was escorted from his own gig in handcuffs. His arrest was for singing NWA’s “Fuck tha Police” during a routine police check of the concert in the seaside town of Tauranga. He was charged with disorderly behaviour likely to cause violence.
When Australian Football League player Nathan Lovett-Murray was growing up, his favourite record was “Black Boy” by Coloured Stone. “Black boy,” goes the song, “black boy/The colour of your skin is your pride and joy/Black boy/Black boy/Your life is not destroyed.” Lovett-Murray still marvels at its power. “So many Indigenous people could relate to that song and just feel proud about being an Indigenous person when they heard it,” he tells Green Left Weekly.
Good politicians are few and far between, but British health secretary Andrew Lansley is among the worst. In 2008, he was forced to apologise after saying recessions brought "good things" such as people being able to spend more time with their families. In Britain’s parliamentary expenses scandal in 2009, he was accused of claiming for the renovation of a rural cottage, selling it, then “flipping” his second home designation to a London flat and claiming thousands of pounds for furniture. He said his claims were "within the rules".
Desert Pea Media www.desertpeamedia.com.au PI Boyz www.smugglersoflight.com/AboriginalJustice.htm Aboriginal man Mulrunji Doomadgee died in custody at Palm Island police station on November 19, 2004. His liver had been cleaved almost in two. Nearly three years later, senior police sergeant Chris Hurley told Townsville Supreme Court he had come to terms with the fact that he caused the death. But more than six years after it happened, no one has been convicted of Doomadgee's death.
A History of Now Asian Dub Foundation www.asiandubfoundation.com The artwork for A History of Now, the new album from Asian Dub Foundation (ADF), is a set of iPhone apps. But instead of Apple’s tame applications, the band of British-born Indian genre benders have invented their own parodies. A typical one, named “Instigator”, features a burning bottle and the instruction: “Stuck for a weapon while protesting against government cuts? Let ‘Instigator’ turn your phone into an instant Molotov cocktail!”
When a Billion Chinese Jump — How China Will Save the World, or Destroy It By Jonathan Watts Faber & Faber, 2010 485 pages, $32.95 http://site.whenabillionchinesejump.com/ When Jonathan Watts was a child growing up in England, he used to pray that all the people in China would not jump at once, lest they send the earth spinning off its axis.
About 250 protesters gathered outside Redfern Community Centre on January 26 to listen to Aboriginal leaders speak out against the Northern Territory intervention and ongoing attacks on Aboriginal self-determination. The event was organised by the Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney (STICS). Speakers included Valerie Martin Napaljarra, based in Kalkaringi in the Northern Territory; Greens councillor Irene Doutney; and Graham Merritt of STICS.