Culture

Populism Now! The Case for Progressive Populism
David McKnight
New South, 2018
177 pages, rrp $29.99

David McKnight’s Populism Now! catches a wave of discussion about the chances for a progressive “populism”, writes Jonathan Strauss.

Also in the spray, for example, is a June Quarterly Essay piece by the Australia Institute’s Richard Denniss “Dead Right: how neoliberalism ate itself and what comes next” and the previously post-whatever Chantal Mouffe’s musings on “left populism”.

No Friend but the Mountains, written by Kurdish journalist and human right activist Behrouz Boochani who has been jailed on Manus Island since 2013, stands out among the genre of prison literature.

In reviewing this important - but not self-important - book by Lindy Nolan, I can hardly do better than start by quoting Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, Northern Territory Australian of the Year in 2015 and Amatjere Elder, from the backcover of the book: “Such deep and fearless truth.”

Amateurs is a poignantly funny film that raises serious questions about Swedish multiculturalism, without ever preaching. There is plenty of harsh racist behaviour demonstrated — but the worst of it is committed by migrants against each other.

On the 50th anniversary of Johnny Cash’s concerts behind prison walls, later released as At Folsom Prison, Nicole Colson looks at how the US country music legend gave voice to the voiceless.

Triumph: Jesse Owens & Hitler’s Olympics

Jeremy Schaap

Head of Zeus, 2014

272 pages

He may have been the world’s greatest athlete at the time, writes Jeremy Schaap in Triumph, but Jesse Owens was also a Black American. Therefore Owens, the winner of four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, was refused a room at hotel after hotel on his arrival back in New York, until a agreed on condition that he use the service entrance.

World Cup organisers FIFA and its corporate sponsors market their products to the members of the LGBTI community by presenting themselves as allies and advocates for their struggles. But this is questioned by its holding of the 2018 World Cup in Russia and giving the rights to the 2022 event to Qatar.

Many Australians have probably never heard some of these Australian languages before Yothu Yindi, Gurrumul, Shellie Morris and others brought them to broader ears. But they are the languages of this continent: they grew up with this land, evolved with it, and have much to tell us about its histories, ecologies and peoples.

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