Cultural Dissent

Veteran socialist filmmaker Ken Loach’s new film I, Daniel Blake, tells the story of two people trying to survive under Britain’s increasingly cruel welfare system.

Many conservatives have claimed the film presents a “romanticised” view of the poor and that the harsh realities it depict are exaggerated — despite a large number of real-life examples similar to those features in Loach’s film. Below, comedian Mark Steel responds to Daily Mail columnist Toby Young, who said the film “didn’t ring true”. It first appeared at The Independent.

Singer Denasia Lawrence knelt while performing the national anthem at a Miami Heat basketball game on October 21 and opened her jacket to reveal a “Black Lives Matter” T-shirt.

It was a variation on a protest that has punctuated many US sporting events in recent times against racist police violence. Like other anthem protests, the gesture by the Black singer Denasia was intended to highlight the unfair police treatment of people of colour in the United States amid ongoing killings of unarmed Black people.

Ink In Her Veins: The Troubled Life of Aileen Palmer
Sylvia Martin
University of Western Australia Publishing, 2016
328 pages

In 1939, a young Australian woman grabbed the international headlines when she threw red paint onto the doorsteps of 10 Downing Street, whilst distributing leaflets hidden in copies of the Ladies Home Journal.

The action by Aileen Palmer was to protest the blood that then-British prime minister Neville Chamberlain had on his hands for selling out Spain and Czechoslovakia to European fascism.

Building the Commune
By George Ciccariello-Maher
Verso Books, 2016

Every commune is different, George Ciccariello-Maher says in Building the Commune, but “the coffee is always too sweet, and the process is always difficult, endlessly messy and unpredictable in its inescapable creativity”.

From continued ire toward NFL star Colin Kaepernick over his protests against police killings to outrage over a racist mascot and a Los Angeles slugger’s rejection of Trump, sport in the US is fast becoming politicised.

Reflecting a racially-polarised society, tensions have recently broken past the typical barriers and spilled — like a rowdy, drunken fan — onto the playing field of the usually-insulated field of sports.

Tom Morello, renowned guitarist from Rage Against the Machine and social activist, has just finished a “Make America Rage Again” tour with new supergroup Proohets of Rage. The group features RATM members Brad Wilk and Tim Cummerford, as well as Public Enemy vocalist Chuck D and Cypress Hill frontman B Real.

Dirty Secrets: Our ASIO Files
Edited by Meredith Burgmann
Newsouth, 2014
464 pages, $32.99 (pb)

The only thing worse, notes Meredith Burgmann in Dirty Secrets, than discovering that your personal file held by Australia’s domestic political police, ASIO, is disappointingly thin is to find out that your official subversion rating hasn’t warranted a file at all.

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.

The Baulkham Hills African Ladies Troupe
Written and directed by Ros Horin
In cinemas now

About 90% of women refugees have been subjected to sexual violence in the process of becoming a refugee. In this film, four African women who managed to make it to Australia open up about their experiences and, in the process, create a theatrical work that has swept the world.

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