Cultural Dissent

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).

Noah
Directed by Darren Aronofsky
Starring Russell Crowe & Jennifer Connolly
In cinemas now

The self-avowed atheist Darren Aronofsky, who directed the recently released Hollywood epic Noah, called it the “least biblical biblical film ever”.

Christian critics, such as National Religious Broadcaster president Jerry Johnson, were quick to agree. Johnson accused the film of having an “extreme environmentalist agenda” and supporting the theory of evolution.

RAPtivism
Aisha Fukushima
March 2012
www.raptivism.bandcamp.com

Travelling the world is a big enough challenge for most people, but Aisha Fukushima also managed to make a politically-charged hip-hop album while she did it. Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward spoke to the California-based "rap activist".

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You collaborated with rappers in the various countries you visited on your travels and emerged with a powerful album. Has your wanderlust been satisfied or do you have another similar album in the works?

Brothers Part One: Gallipoli 1915
By John Tognolini
163pp $20 paperback, $5 ebook
www.writersandebooks.com

Cuba & Its Neighbours: Democracy in Motion
By Arnold August
Fernwood Publishing
January 2013
288pp, C$29.95

Surrounded by emerging participatory democracies unshackling themselves from US hegemony, Arnold August writes that Cuba is a laboratory for people-powered politics.

The Show Will Go On
Mau Power
Coming soon
www.maupower.com

Mau Power's new album takes listeners through the big changes in his life - and the first of those came when he was jailed. "In 2001, I got incarcerated," the Torres Strait Islands rapper tells Green Left Weekly. "And that time I was in lock-up for nine months."

Mau Power, also known as Patrick Mau, was put away for grievous bodily harm after a street fight in the southern Queensland country town of Toowoomba.

Sense & Sensibility, an Annotated Edition
By Jane Austen (edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks)
Harvard University Press 2013
448 pp, $54.95
The Annotated Frankenstein
By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (edited by Susan J. Wolfson & Ronald Levao)
Harvard University Press 2012
400pp., $45.00

In January, federal education minister Christopher Pyne announced that he wants the national school history curriculum to recognise “the legacy of Western civilisation”.

Matangi
M.I.A.
N.E.E.T. Recordings
November 2013

The arrival of a new M.I.A. album is always a thing to behold. Music critics are sure to be polarised, as are the usually ham-fisted attempts to better categorise her work to make it less controversial than it is.

Snide remarks about her latest, Matangi, however, have been relatively muted in the months since its release.

The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aboriginal people made Australia
Bill Gammage
434pps, $40
Allen & Unwin, 2012

This is an extraordinary book that details how Australian Aboriginal people cared for the land, or as Bill Gammage calls it the “Biggest Estate on Earth”.

Gammage describes, with many examples, how Aboriginal people looked after the land. No corner was ignored, from deserts and rainforests to rocky outcrops, across the entire continent for at least 60,000 years until British colonisers began to destroy all this work after their arrival in 1788.

Don't Let it Go (Urthboy Flip)
Sietta x Jaytee
Elefant Traks
Released March 6, 2014
Free download

Hip-hop artist Urthboy has hit back at Australia's asylum seeker policy with a free song released online. The rapper drops some radical rhymes over a beat that originally appeared on the new album by bass-heavy Darwin duo Sietta, which was released on his label Elefant Traks this month.

“It's no secret that many of the actors at the Oscars were wearing borrowed clothes and jewellery after being feted by designers keen for a priceless plug,” the Sydney Morning Herald said on March 5. “But not many would have been lent a suit because they couldn't afford one.”

This article on 10 thought-provoking lyrics from Native rap artists in the US first appeared at Indian Country Today Media Network.

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There’s always a verse, hook, or rhyme that listeners hear and say – whoa, I wasn’t expecting that. But, regardless of its effect, we find ourselves singing along to it.

Necrocracy
Exhumed
Relapse Records
Released August 6, 2013
www.relapse.com/exhumed

Californian death metal band Exhumed couch their cutting politics in horror-themed lyrics. Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward spoke to frontman Matt Harvey.

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Their names are Jawhar Nasser Jawhar, 19, and Adam Abd al-Raouf Halabiya, 17. They were once soccer players in the West Bank. Now they will never play sports again.

Jawhar and Adam were on their way home from training in the Faisal al-Husseini Stadium on January 31 when Israeli forces fired on them as they approached a checkpoint. After being shot repeatedly, they were mauled by checkpoint dogs and then beaten.

Ten bullets were put into Jawhar’s feet. Adam took one bullet in each foot.

A fresh protest by fans in Australia's A-League football (soccer) competition against restrictions on their rights took place at Parramatta Stadium on March 2 in a match between the Western Sydney Wanderers and the Newcastle Jets.

The Red and Black Bloc (RBB), the “active support” group for the Wanderers sat still in their seats for the entire match in a 90-minute long “silent protest”.

For Neville Cunningham

You walk, you walk,
You turn a corner and walk some more

The sun might be there
Some cloud also welcome

But you are always invited
Into the house of the beekeeper.

You will know it when you arrive
Usually an afternoon of daylight

Will warm those neighbourhood bricks
You will feel it on your right cheek!

You’ll know you’ve arrived:
A poster of Ned Kelly hangs in his window

The front door is always open when he’s in
And you can go in once you tap on the screen door.

He’ll be reading a book on his thin mattress

The Prince: Faith, Abuse & George Pell
David Marr
Quarterly Essay, Issue 51
Black Inc., $19.99 (pb)

The police had, writes David Marr in his September 2013 Quarterly Essay on paedophile priests in the Catholic Church in Australia, “vigorously, for a very long time, protected the church”. This, says Marr, left the clergy’s sex crimes to be looked after in-house.

This entirely suited the clerical child abusers, until the global tide of Catholic sexual abuse revelations engulfed Australia and sparked police of conscience into action.

Celebrity deaths from drug overdoses always garner heavy mainstream media coverage.

Last year, it was the death of Cory Monteith, a star of the popular TV show Glee — a lethal combination of heroin and alcohol killed him. This month, it was the gifted actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died of an apparent overdose of heroin.

Hip Hop, White Supremacy & Capitalism: Why Corporations Infiltrated RAP Music
Solomon Comissiong
Released November 2013
www.solomoncomissiong.com

The politics in early hip-hop music inspired Solomon Comissiong to become an activist, author, lecturer and film-maker. Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward spoke to him about his work, which uses rap music as a tool to educate and organise.

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Actress Ellen Page, best known for her work in the 2007 film Juno came out as gay in her speech at a Human Rights Campaign conference on February 14.

The conference itself was aimed at LGBTIQ youth where, during an emotional speech, Page said she was “tired of hiding” and “lying by omission”.

“I'm here today because I am gay,” Page said. “And because maybe I can make a difference.”

In what the Sydney Morning Herald described as the "darkest night" in Sydney Football Club's history, active supporters of the A-League football (soccer) club ― known as "the Cove" ― staged a walkout during the February 8 match against Adelaide United in protest against heavy-handed security tactics.

Radical Dilemma
Rebel Diaz
Released December 4, 2013
www.rebeldiaz.bandcamp.com

Rebel Diaz's much-anticipated debut album tackles a quandary faced by many activists - the "radical dilemma" of trying to change the system while being trapped in it. Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward spoke to the Bronx-based activist rap duo, made up of brothers RodStarz and G1.

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Condemned To The System
Nausea
Willowtip Records
Released January 7, 2014
www.facebook.com/nauseala

Toxin Toxout: Getting Harmful Chemicals Out of Our Bodies
Bruce Lourie & Rick Smith
University of Queensland Press, 2013
289 pages

The intrepid, and possibly just a little mad, environmental advocates Bruce Lourie and Rick Smith, are up to their old chemical tricks again in Toxin Toxout.

The Wolf of Wall Street
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler
Showing at selected cinemas

“There is no nobility in poverty. I’ve been rich, and I’ve been poor and I chose rich every time. At least as a rich man, when I have to face my problems, I show up in the back of a limo wearing a $2000 suit and a $40,000 gold plated watch! ... I want you to deal with your problems by becoming rich! Be aggressive, be ferocious, be telephone fucking terrorists!”

Kill the Power
Skindred
Released January 24, 2013
Touring Australia from Feb 22 to March 3
www.skindred.net

Welsh ragga-punk-electronica festival favourites Skindred have hit back at all oppressors on their latest album, Kill The Power - and they're bringing their hard-hitting message to Australia with the touring Soundwave festival from February 22. Big-bearded guitarist Mikey Demus spoke to Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward.

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Since their founding in 1896, every Olympics has arrived with the promise to unite the world.

One can still hear the lyrical words of the man who presided over the 1936 Berlin games, Chancellor Adolf Hitler, who said that he hoped his Nazi Olympics could help “knit the bonds of peace between nations”.

Hitler’s dreams of using the vessel of what is known as “the Olympic Movement” to create a harmonious world has tragically never come to pass, despite the best efforts of the aristocrats in the International Olympic Committee.

Corrupt Fucking System
Doom
Black Cloud Records
Released December 23, 2013
www.doomcrustpunk.com

Outspoken British crust-punk pioneers Doom have a stonking new album out and are heading to Australia. Guitarist and founding member Brian Talbot, aka Bri Doom, spoke to Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward.

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Beloved Land: Stories, Struggles & Secrets From Timor-Leste
Gordon Peake
Scribe, 2013
250 pages, $29.95 (pb)

East Timor is a tale of two statistics, says Gordon Peake in Beloved Land, his engaging blend of history, memoir and travelogue about the former Portuguese and Indonesian colony.

One of the world's poorest nations, East Timor ranks a lowly 120th of 169 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index, but scores high on corruption at 15th on the World Bank’s business transparency report.

Talking about music might sound strange for people who live in refugee camps and are deeply burdened with many other problems needing to be voiced.

But the huge role music played in the Saharawi people's struggle for independence leaves me with no choice e but to try to talk a little about the magical role revolutionary songs are playing in my people’s daily fight for self-determination.

It's celebrity time again. The Golden Globes have been, and the Oscars are coming. This is a “vintage year” say Hollywood's hagiographers on cue. It isn't.

Most movies are made to a formula for the highest return, money-fuelled by marketing and something called celebrity. This is different from fame, which can come with talent. True celebrities are spared that burden.

Invasion Day 2014 Mixtape
Brisbane Blacks
Released January 26, 2014
www.1stnationsmobb.bandcamp.com

As countless Australians donned their Cronulla capes and sank slabs of piss this Australia Day, non-profit publication Brisbane Blacks marked the occasion by releasing a free album full of protest songs.

Banjo-picking American troubadour Pete Seeger died on January 27 at the age of 94. In a career that spanned eight decades, he sang for migrant workers, peace activists and anti-capitalists.

Seeger died peacefully in his sleep around 9.30pm in New York Presbyterian Hospital, where he had been for six days. Family members were with him.

Seeger was an iconic figure in protest music. In his younger days he performed with Woody Guthrie and in his nineties, leaning on two canes, he marched with Occupy Wall Street protesters.

Spartacus (Revealing Antiquity)
By Aldo Schiavone (translation by Jeremy Carden)
Harvard University Press, 2013
208 pp., $29.95

Karl Marx was a great admirer of ancient Roman and Greek philosophers and leaders. However, there was one he singled out as the “finest fellow antiquity had to offer”: Spartacus, the Thracian who led the most significant slave revolt against the Roman empire.

Marx was not the only member of the Spartacus fan club. German Communists led by Rosa Luxemburg named their party after him.

For a second, just imagine that one of the highest ranked male tennis players in the world is taking part in the obligatory post-game interview having just won a marathon five setter.

Now imagine the interviewer is themselves a veteran of the sport for decades, one who undoubtedly knows the game inside and out. Now imagine the first question they ask the winner is: “So who would you most like to date?”

When Nadine Angerer, German goalkeeper for the Brisbane Roar W-League football (soccer) team, won the 2013 FIFA Women's World Player of the Year, it highlighted the quality of women's football in Australia.

However, as Aron Micallef highlights in the article below, it remains severely underdeveloped in contrast to its male equivalent. The article first appeared on Micallef's Attacking From the Left sports blog.

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High Hopes
Bruce Springsteen
Columbia
Released January 17, 2014
www.brucespringsteen.net

A recent documentary on veteran US rocker Bruce Springsteen asked fans to describe their hero in three words.

The responses, compiled in the film Springsteen & I, were fairly predictable: "Badass, sensitive, perfect"; "Hope, energy, power”; “Earnest, inspiring, intense” and so on.

The non-Springsteen fans reading this could probably think of a few far less kind words. But if I were to choose three, they would be: "Open to interpretation."

Alienation: An Introduction to Marx’s Theory
By Dan Swain
Bookmarks, 2012

The human race lives in a terrible contradiction. Quite obviously, there is enough wealth to create a decent life for every person on the planet. Yet, billions suffer deprivation and are denied basic human rights so that the capitalist profit-making system can maintain itself.

If I Had a Hammer
David Rovics
Liberation Records, 2013

Fans of radical US singer-songwriter David Rovics will welcome his latest CD, If I had a Hammer, a compilation of three albums recorded last year and released in December. And those not familiar with his mix of angry, satirical, pensive and informative folk punk songs of struggle should check out this 23-track marathon introduction to some of the recent offerings of this prolific artist.

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