Cultural Dissent

In the Shadow of Gallipoli
By Robert Bollard
NewSouth, Sydney 2013

On April 25, 1915, Australian troops landed at Gallipoli on Turkey’s coast. They were part of a British imperial force aiming to capture Constantinople (now called Istanbul) and the land alongside the narrow waterway linking the Mediterranean to the Black Sea.

It was hoped this would enable British ships to enter the Black Sea and bring supplies to allied Russia.

A 13-year-old boy from Brazil’s Guarani tribe makes a political stand in front of 70,000 football fans and what he thinks is an international audience. A movement led by indigenous women in the United States beats a billion-dollar brand of the big, bad NFL.

These two stories share more than the fact that they took place during the same week. They share the ways that people in power have sought to combat their courage by trying to render them invisible.

The Invisible Hand of Market
Cyclotimia
Released April 2014
www.cyclotimia.com

Russian electronic duo Cycloctimia's fascination for technology and sharemarkets has paid dividends – more than 10 satirical albums so far. Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward spoke to Max K, who describes his role as “keyboards, music, sampling and market rituals”.

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Tell us a bit about your childhood in Russia.

Big Kitty Life
MC Dukebox
Released December 2013
Impossible Odds Records
www.dukebox.net.au

MC Dukebox says he named his debut album "Big Kitty Life" because he was sick of seeing government funds misspent.

"It's referring to a big kitty of funding that everyone's lining up for with a different excuse for why they deserve the money and how they're going to benefit their surrounding communities," says the Indigenous rapper, who hails from Inverell in north-west NSW.

Where No Doctor Has Gone Before: Cuba’s Place in the Global Health Landscape
By Robert Huish
Wilfred Laurier University Press, 2013
Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age of the Urban Guerrilla
By David Kilcullen
Scribe, 2013
342 pp, $32.95

It is interesting that Robert Huish and David Kilcullen inhabit the same world, because their books indicate that they view the planet differently, like black and white or perhaps like life and death.

Blue Volume
Joelistics
Released June 20, 2014
Elefant Traks
www.joelistics.com

The flawless music on Joelistics' second solo album is more than matched by the depth of his lyrics - an unflinching look at Australian reality. Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward went through the words with the rapper, who brings some much-needed grit to Australian hip-hop.

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On "Say I'm Good" you rap:

I'm an oddball, on the wrong team
All my friends are out of step with the mainstream
And the nightmare is in full swing

Even if you have no interest in football and have never watched a single game before now, this is the time to accept that all of us, including you, should hate Sepp Blatter.

Partly this is because recent investigations, which have taken years to complete, show that he's repulsive. He may have responded with a statement that “I completely deny I am in any way repulsive”, but the evidence is overwhelming, with further reports set to disclose staggering global levels of repulsion he can't ignore.

The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler
Ben Urwand
Belknap, 2013
327 pages, $39.95 (hb)

Throughout the 1930s, movie-goers all over the world got to see the German Nazi’s cut of every Hollywood film. Any movie touching on Germany contained no mention of Nazism or Jews.

Both these silences, as Harvard University’s Ben Urwand unearths in The Collaboration, were the result of a remarkable agreement allowing the Nazis to dictate Hollywood movie content in return for Hollywood studios keeping their access to the lucrative German market.

The Merry Grinchmas Mixtape
MC Bunz
Released December 25, 2013
Free download

When Glen Anderson was playing sport with his schoolfriends, he was suddenly surrounded by police who ordered him to lay flat on the ground.

Tender
Written & directed by Lynette Wallwarth

A new documentary film, Tender, screened at the recent Sydney Film Festival, follows residents of the Wollongong suburb of Port Kembla who are working to start a not-for-profit funeral service in their local community.

Recognising the local need for affordable and meaningful funeral services, the Port Kembla Community Centre decided to provide them. The film follows their journey as they gather community support and explore alternatives.

One of the hallmarks of the neoliberal age has been the exponential expansion of commercial spectator sport — in its economic value, political role and cultural presence. All of which is thrown into high relief by the World Cup in Brazil.

In recent years, the sporting industry has grown in all regions above the local GDP rate. It is estimated to have generated US$135 billion in direct revenues last year. These revenues derive from gate receipts, corporate sponsorship, media rights and merchandising.

In the 18th and 19th century, scientists often used themselves as guinea pigs in the course of conducting experiments to determine the causes of disease and test the efficacy of new drugs.

One of the earlier and more heroic examples comes from the Scottish physiologist and surgeon John Hunter (1728-93). Hunter was investigating syphilis, a disease surrounded by secrecy and shame whose origins were unlikely to be acknowledged at any level. The French called it the Italian disease and the Italians called it the French disease.

There are plenty examples of sporting “droughts”, but there has never been a more harrowing athletic drought — rife with pain, pathos and perseverance — quite like that of the Palestinian national football team.

This is a national team without a recognised nation to call home; a national team that has never qualified for a major international tournament; a national team that, like its people, struggles to be seen. That drought, 86 years in the making, is now over.

In 2012, Quebec’s student movement carried out a months-long strike, managing to push back and hold off a neoliberal government’s bid to raise tuition fees.

Repeatedly mobilising upwards of 200,000 people at monthly “mega-manifs”, the “Maple Spring” was an all-too rare win against the forces of austerity, and so it captured imaginations around the world.

The open letter below was submitted to Prime Minister Tony Abbott on May 23 at the Australian book industry awards in Sydney. Released by the editors of literary journals Meanjin and Overland, it has been signed by dozens of writers. You can read the full list here.

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Dear Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Treasurer Joe Hockey and Minister for Arts George Brandis.

“You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.”

So wrote Maya Angelou, in her poem “Still I Rise”. She died on May 28 at 86 at her home in North Carolina.

In remembering Maya Angelou, it is important to recall her commitment to the struggle for equality, not just for herself, or for women, or for African-Americans. She was committed to peace and justice for all.

Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s & '60s Volumes I
By Ernest Tate
Resistance Books, 2014
www.resistancebooks.org

“A police cruiser with two uniformed officers pulled up alongside me,” recalls Ernest Tate in his newly published memoir Revolutionary Activism.

“They jumped out and asked me for identification. I gave it to them. ‘What’s in your suitcase?’ Dirty underwear, I said. ‘Open it,” they ordered. I told them it was none of their business. They almost went berserk …”

Taking God To School: The End of Australia’s Egalitarian Education?
Marion Maddox
Allen & Unwin, 2014
248 pages, $29.99 (pb)

To the traditional “three Rs”, Australia has added a fourth ― religion.

Religious private schools, religious instruction in public schools and religious counsellors have found generously-funded favour with successive federal and state governments, writes Macquarie University politics professor Marion Maddox, in Taking God to School.

Radical Wollongong
Written by John Rainford
Directed by John Reynolds and Paul Benedek
Produced by Green Left TV
www.radicalwollongong.com

Radical Wollongong, the first documentary produced by Green left TV, met with significant enthusiasm at its premier screening at the Gala Cinema in the Illawarra on May 18.

With standing room only, in one of the region's few remaining theatres, we were shown a treat of a film on the history of Wollongong ― in particular, its most radical and interesting manifestations of class, politics and working life.

3CR released this statement on May 2.

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As many thousands of people across the country mobilise against the Tony Abbott government, 3CR community radio is asking its listeners and supporters of independent media to join the resistance by donating money to the station during our annual Radiothon.

College football star Michael Sam has made history as the United States' National Football League’s first openly gay player, Democracy Now! said on May 12. The St Louis Rams picked Sam in the final round of the NFL draft, months after he publicly came out.

Sam was a first-team, All-American and the Southeastern Conference’s defensive player for the year as a lineman for the University of Missouri. Sam broke into tears as he took the call informing him of his draft selection. The sports network ESPN showed footage of him kissing his boyfriend in celebration.

For people just tuning in, the idea that people in Brazil would be protesting the 2014 World Cup makes about as much sense as New Yorkers' rebelling against pizza.

And yet here we are, less than one month before the start of the Cup, and demonstrations bear the slogan #NãoVaiTerCopa, or "There will be no Cup".

One
L-FRESH The LION
Vienna People Recordings
Released May 9, 2014
www.l-fresh.com

Rapper L-FRESH The LION is as well known for his activism as he is for his music. Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward spoke to the Sydney-raised Sikh about his newly released debut album, One.

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Forgotten Voices of Mao's Great Famine, 1958-1962, An Oral History
By Zhou Xun
Yale University Press, 2013
336 pp, $35.00

In his excellent history book Timelines, John Rees has a graph, which in one image sums up the people’s history contained in Zhou Xun’s Forgotten Voices. The line showing improvements in life expectancy in China suddenly shows a total reversal, a deep plunge into an abyss and then a quick return to the original curve.

This abyss was Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward.

A Spy in the Archives
By Sheila Fitzpatrick
Melbourne University Press, 2013
346 pages, $32.99 (pb)

When Sydney University Professor Sheila Fitzpatrick was doing some crafty archival sleuthing as a British PhD student in the late 1960s in Moscow, it was not unexpected that any state guardians might suspect a female spy at work.

Fitzpatrick could see some justification. “Any suspicious archives director who thought I was trying to find out the secrets of Narkompros was dead right”, she notes in Spy in the Archives.

For years now, off and on ― as huge the financial crisis and spiking unemployment have given way to healthy corporate profits and a "recovery" characterised by a surge in low-wage job creation ― the word has gone around that people are rediscovering Karl Marx's Capital.

Whether many have the stamina to finish its opening chapter, on the commodity form, may be doubted. (Over the years, I have been in at least three informal study groups that broke up before getting through the analysis of money in chapter three.)

Boots Riley is lead singer of US-based hip-hop group The Coup and a radical activist, heavily involved in Occupy Oakland and other struggles.

He was a featured speaker at the Marxism 2014 conference in Melbourne over April 17-20. Green Left Weekly's Gemma Weedall spoke to him.

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Why do you think we need revolutionary change today?

Oil & Honey: The Education Of An Unlikely Activist
Bill McKibben
Black Inc., 2013
255 pages, $29.95(pb)

When the United States environmental writer Bill McKibben became a climate change activist, he discovered the delights of internet abuse and public meeting crazies, as he entertainingly describes in Oil and Honey.

Land & Labour: Marxism, Ecology & Human History
Martin Empson
Bookmarks Publications
London, 2014

With several serious global environmental crises bearing down on us, the question of our age must be “what can we do?”

British socialist Martin Empson urges us to look into the past and into the future for answers in his new book Land and Labour. His message is that human destruction of its environment is not inevitable, although it is very likely if we don’t draw upon the best and worst examples from humanity’s diverse experience.

One of the greatest novelists and writers of the 20th century has died. Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez passed away on April 17 in Mexico at the age of 87.

Commemorating the author, US-based progressive TV and radio show Democracy Now! said on April 18: “It has been reported that only the Bible has sold more copies in the Spanish language than the works of Garcia Marquez, who was affectionately known at 'Gabo' throughout Latin America.”

The Snowden Files
Luke Harding
Random House
February 2014
352 pages, $30

Luke Harding's The Snowden Files is a well-constructed overview of the biggest intelligence leak in history - but it is not without its flaws.

The Guardian journalist tells a detailed story of Edward Snowden - from his childhood in a military, Republican family, his short education and brief, failed army career, to his meteoric rise through the intelligence services that eventually enabled him to turn whistleblower.

World View
AWKWORD
February 2, 2014
www.awkwordrap.com

Fuck Tony Fuckin’ Abbott
After the revolution
The solution
Abbott made to stand down
Send him to Hanover down town
Spend a term there
Maybe then he’ll care

Fuck Tony Fuckin’ Abbott
Let the boats in, I say
Don’t turn em’ away
The politician’s oversight
Illegals – no
Declaration of Human Rights
That’s the UN
Say it once again

Fuck Tony Fuckin’ Abbott
People waiting in dole queues
He’s giving me the blues
Mental illness is rife
Due partly to his strife

Fuck Tony Fuckin’ Abbott
When it comes to the end

The world of mother nature has been overthrown
From her, her garments torn
Ripped away her ozone
The rapist that threatens has sworn
Take away her rain forests
the dreaded terror ravaged her breast
kissed upon the pure air smog and stench
a passion of pollution has been blessed
what was once an innocent pure birth
now a harsh scorched earth
and in the ravage and the power
the scourge was once a loving flower
like any mother she does what she can
but she will not be defeated by her son man

China’s Rise: Strength & Fragility
By Au Loong Yu
Resistance Books, IIRE
Merlin Press, 2012
316 pages

The transformation of the Chinese economy a 20-fold rise in the size of the economy between 1979 and 2010 and huge development of private enterprise has been one of the most significant and remarkable phenomena in recent history.

However, neither the Western media and academia, nor the Chinese regime itself, provide much credible analysis on what is involved in this transformation.

Veteran Canadian punk band DOA have set sail for Australia for one final tour this month. Formed in 1978, Henry Rollins described the band as “live they were monumental, change your life, blow away time … They came to town and we were like WOW!”

DOA’s slogan has been “Talk minus Action equals Zero” and the band has been active on many issues, including anti-racism, anti-globalisation, freedom of speech, and the environment.

In 2003, founding member Joe “Shithead” Keithley released his autobiography, I, Shithead: A Life in Punk.

Eco-Business: A Big-Brand Takeover of Sustainability
Peter Dauvergne & Jane Lister
MIT Press, 2013, 194 pages

Every big retail brand name you can think of — McDonalds and Starbucks, Coca-Cola and Nestle, Nike and Adidas, Disney and Google — are leading an apparent corporate charge towards ecological sustainability. Or so they would have us believe, say Peter Dauvergne and Jane Lister in Eco-Business.

The experts said that the efforts of the Northwestern University football (gridiron) team to form a union would crash and burn.

The experts scoffed that these naive jocks would lose their case before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The experts all believed that this is what they call “settled law”.

Spoiled Indentity EP
Iron Reagan
Relapse Records
April 1, 2014
Free download

Radical punk-metal supergroup Iron Reagan have just released a free 13-track EP and are now playing it live across the US. Vocalist Tony Foresta and drummer Ryan Parrish answered some questions for Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward while they were driving to Dallas.

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Recent developments in the A-League football (soccer) competition in Australia help to show how the realm of sport entertainment is increasingly colonised by capitalist markets and how popular participation is undermined.

Green Left Weekly has reported on attacks on the rights of fans. They show how the owners of elite football clubs, the media and the state (particularly in terms of policing) undermine fans' rights, especially those engaged in “active support” in the stadium (singing, chanting, dancing, and banner waving).

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