Cultural Dissent

GLW Issue 1050

A Short History Of Social Democracy: From Socialist Origins To Neoliberal Theocracy
By John Rainford
Resistance Books
$20, 184pp.

The rise and then fall of social democracy as a movement for fundamental social change is a modern tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. It is one of the epic stories of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Massacre is an explosive theatre work about the politics and violence of East Timor. Produced by Stone/Castro (Australia) and Colectivo 84 (Portugal), it features John Romao as “Timor” and Paulo Castro as “East”.

They work with “weapons of grotesque, sarcasm and a thrash metal soundtrack to create a scenic, hypnotic and dangerous game. The mutant metamorphosis of Australia, Indonesia and Portugal make for an in-your-face confrontation to the East Timor crisis.”

It's Fatal
Miss Hood
Payback Records
Out now
www.facebook.com/misshoodoffical

Hard-hitting rapper Miss Hood comes from a long line of women warriors. Her ancestors, the Kunai and Gunditjmara people of eastern and western Victoria, put female fighters on the frontline.

"Both of the tribes were matriarchal, so women were equal to men," says the Melbourne-based emcee. "It wasn't unusual to have women warriors as well as men warriors."

Little wonder, then, that her music packs such a powerful feminist punch.

Here's this month's radical record round-up, including a response to the "Reclaim Australia" rallies. What album, or albums, would you suggest? Comment below, on Twitter or Facebook.

1. SUPER BEST FRIENDS
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GLW Issue 1049

The People’s Referendum: Why Scotland Will Never Be the Same Again
by Paul Geoghegan
Luath Press 2015
177 pages

The British-wide general election for the Westminster parliament scheduled for May 7 looks set to be very close, perhaps even closer than the 2010 election that resulted in the Labour Party being replaced by a Conservative Party-Liberal Democrat coalition government.

Opinion polls suggest that neither of the two main British parties, Conservative or Labour, will win enough seats for a majority of their own in the House of Commons.

Günter Grass, who was one of Germany’s most important post-war novelists, died on April 13 at the age of 87 in the town of Lübeck, in northern Germany.

Grass was perhaps most famous for his 1959 book The Tin Drum, a novel that embodied fantastical elements in its critique of Weimar and Nazi Germany. As such, his style bore resemblances to Latin America’s genre of magical realism. In 1979, the book was turned into an Academy Award winning film by Volker Schlöndorff, which won the Oscar for best foreign film.

Internationally awarded Uruguayan author and journalist Eduardo Galeano died on April 13 of lung cancer at age 75 in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay.

Born September 3, 1940, Galeano was author of about 35 books, including 1971’s Open Veins of Latin America, which details how Western powers have exploited Latin America and its resources for centuries. It became a bestseller overnight after the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez handed the book a Barack Obama during the fifth Summit of the Americas in 2009.

GLW Issue 1048

White City, Black City: Architecture & War in Tel Aviv & Jaffa
By Sharon Rotbard
Pluto Press, £14.99

In July 2003, Unesco put the “White City” of Tel Aviv on its list of World Heritage Sites. It took almost 20 years of incessant campaigning by the Israeli state to secure this recommendation that, de facto, legitimised far-reaching aspects of Zionist ideology.

But was there any merit to the Tel Aviv case in the first place? In fact, the building of Tel Aviv began adjacently to Jaffa — one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities of the world — only from about 1909.

The Inconvenient Genocide: Who Remembers the Armenians?
Geoffrey Robertson QC, Vintage Books,
Sydney, 294 pages, 2014

On the eve of Nazi Germany’s 1939 invasion of Poland, Adolf Hitler urged his generals “to kill without mercy men, women and children of the Polish race or language”.

“Only in such a way will we win [what] we need,” Hitler said. “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians.”

The Nazi leader was referring to the genocide carried out by the Ottoman Turkish empire in 1915 against the Armenian people within its borders.

GLW Issue 1047

Hell-Bent: Australia’s Leap Into The Great War
Douglas Newton
Scribe, 2014
344 pages, $32.99 (pb)

Behind all the froth, then and now, about the noble cause of World War I — defence of freedom against German aggression — lay a far less exalted reality, writes retired University of Western Sydney historian Douglas Newton.

The war’s “grand plan” for Britain, candidly called “The Spoils” by the British Colonial Secretary, was to divvy the world up among the victors.


Gallipoli, Lest We Forget … The Facts
By John Rainford & Peter Ewer
Available at NoGlory.org

In their short documentary released just ahead of the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC's ill-fated Gallipoli campaign, John Rainford and Peter Ewer have captured the strategic and tactical blunders that led to the deaths of so many in the 1915 Dardanelles Campaign, and the social and economic context in which it was fought.

“Down The Abbott Hole”
By Zelda Grimshaw
Download free

A group of musicians in Cairns, Queensland, have released a song controversially calling for the head of Tony Abbott.

“Down the Abbott Hole” refers to Abbott’s Australia as a bleak and sterile environment, in which fear reigns over logic, and the atmosphere is “cold as ice, black as coal”. The song can be streamed online and was being played by radio stations all over the country just hours after its release.


Melbourne punk band The Duvtons have come out of a five-year hiatus to record a catchy new anti-Abbott song to hasten the fall of “our very own idiot”.

Here's this month's radical record round-up, with an emphasis on International Women's Day. What album, or albums, would you suggest? Comment below, on Twitter or Facebook.

1. VARIOUS ARTISTS - THE F SPOT FEMMES FATALES

Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous
Gabriella Coleman
464 pages
Published November 2014
Verso
www.versobooks.com

In the early days of hacker collective Anonymous, political activism seemed to be the last thing on its members' minds.

Seeking only laughs, usually at the expense of others, members would dismiss anyone they disapproved of as "fags". They held particular disdain for anyone hinting at political activism, who they slammed as "moralfags".

GLW Issue 1046

Only Built For Koori Linx
Provocalz
Featuring Felon and 18 other Indigenous emcees
Mastered by Felon
Coming soon
www.facebook.com/Felon167Inc

The mainstream media are swarming all over the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy and Felon Mason is stripped to the waist.

Blood & Guts: Dispatches From The Whale Wars
Sam Vincent
Black Inc., 2014, 274 pages, $29.99 (pb)

Industrial-scale whaling, writes Sam Vincent in Blood & Guts, had picked clean the world’s oceans until only the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary remained, protected by the icy remoteness of Antarctica and a worldwide ban on commercial whaling.

It is difficult to imagine two more different university towns in the United States than Madison, Wisconsin, and Norman, Oklahoma.

Madison has a reputation stretching back decades as liberal ― even radical ― territory. That ain’t Norman.

In recent days, however, both communities were connected by the resistance of Black students ― and supporters ― against racism.

Madison and Norman are bringing together different aspects of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. It demonstrates how this struggle is firmly implanted among the young ― including young athletes.

Radical Aboriginal rapper Provocalz uploaded the new track "Closure" to YouTube on March 20, in his words to "get out the anger n frustrations of the last few days". It responds to the proposal to forcibly close up to 150 rural Aboriginal communities.

GLW Issue 1045

I take issue with Ben Courtice’s and Emma Murphy’s criticism of my review of Bill Gammage’s book, The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia in the January 28 Green Left Weekly.

I have two major arguments with their criticism. First, Gammage has made a major contribution to our understanding of how Aboriginal Australians cared for the land for more than 60,000 years right across the continent.

Grrl Fest is an independent multi-platform music and arts event, celebrating and empowering women-identified artists. This year, the Melbourne event will be celebrating its third year.

Grrl Fest will be held on March 21 at the Northcote Town Hall.

There will be an outdoor venue, markets, music, workshops, cocktails and cabaret. The venue is a change up from the dusty warehouse beginnings of Grrl Fest.

The Secret History of Wonder Woman
By Jill Lepore
Knopf, 2014, 410 pages

Wonder Woman cannot marry, according to Amazon law. She doesn’t want to, either. Especially if it would mean that she — the comic book superhero disguised as a secretary — would be stuck in the kitchen cooking dinner for her would-be domesticator, Captain Steve Trevor, the US pilot she fell in love with after rescuing him from his plane crash on her woman-only, feminist island utopia.

GLW Issue 1044

This week RE-fugue is happening. An artistic residency by Marziya Mohammedali about the intersection between art and activism. It's aimed at amplifying the voices of refugees, including those currently in detention and inspiring people to get active.

As you enter the space you're confronted with an installation that resembles a tent from Manus Island detention centre. Depending on when you attend the residency, you might get to help out creating the installation — though you've missed the really fun part of getting the tarpaulins up.

No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban and the War Through Afghan Eyes
By Anand Gopal
Metropolitan books, 2014
304 pp, $27

Anand Gopal's book should be compulsory reading for every federal politician in Australia. Nobody could finish it and still have a shred of belief in US foreign policy.

What comes through this history is that it is very dangerous to be an enemy of the US. However, it is just as dangerous to be an ally.

The son of poor villagers in Niger, Bombino was set to come a long way to perform at WOMADelaide, the annual world music and dance festival held in Adelaide from March 6 to 9. His unique blend of desert blues and hardcore rock 'n' roll was sure to fire up this year’s main stage. Vanessa Powell spoke to the performer.

***

Bombino, can you tell me about the traditional music of Niger? Does your music incorporate traditional styles?

Citizenfour
Directed by Laura Poitras
Staring Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald & William Binney
In cinemas now

Directed, filmed, and produced by Laura Poirtas, Citizenfour is a documentary about exposing truths those in power would like hidden, and the danger of mass surveillance in our present society.

Focusing on the case of National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden, who exposed the US government body's wholesale spying around the world, it takes the viewer on a thrilling journey to reveal how the story unfolded away from the spotlight.

Citizenfour won the Oscar for best documentary on February 22, an award that its director Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald collected, later joined on stage by Edward Snowden's partner Lindsay Mills.

“The disclosures of Edward Snowden don’t only expose a threat to our privacy but to our democracy itself,” said Poitras when receiving the Oscar.

“When the decisions that rule us are taken in secret we lose the power to control and govern ourselves.”

GLW Issue 1043

Two members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina, who were jailed for songs criticising Russian President Vladimir Putin, have released a song and video titled "I Can't Breathe".

The video shows them being buried alive while wearing Russian riot police uniforms. The Guardian said on February 18 that the song is inspired by their recent trip to New York and the death of African American Eric Garner at the hands of an NYPD officer.

Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk Amongst Us
John Quiggin
Black Inc., 2012
265 pages, $26.95 (pb)

“Being already dead,” says John Quiggin of zombie ideas in economics, “they can absorb all kinds of damage and keep lumbering on.”

And so, despite severe reality checks such as the historical Great Depression and the more recent Global Financial Crisis (GFC), classical free market economics continues to lead its undead life in the neoliberal form Quiggin calls “market liberalism”.

GLW Issue 1042

Here's this month's radical record round-up, from songs for warriors to chants for socialists. What album, or albums, would you suggest? Comment below, on Twitter or Facebook.

1. WAR ON WOMEN
- WAR ON WOMEN