history

The former British colony of Malaya (now Malaysia) gained its independence on August 31, 1957. However, this was based on a deal by the Malay elites represented by the conservative United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) and Chinese and Indian capitalist classes with British colonialism. This deal preserved the privileges of the Malay elite.

Ten years earlier in 1947, a different vision of independence based on popular democratic participation and multi-ethnic solidarity came together in the “People’s Constitution”.

The renowned artist has died aged 78. A beloved singer-songwriter, Viglietti led a generation of great Uruguayan musicians and performers who emerged in the 1960s in creating a unique sound for the era. 

Along with musicians such as Alfredo Zitarrosa and Los Olimarenos, he introduced what became known as the “popular Uruguayan song”. This was linked to the widely popular “Nueva Cancion” — both a genre and a movement. 

Throughout his life, Viglietti remained committed to several causes. In 1972, the singer was jailed for opposing military rule in Uruguay.

If you want to meet the best Australians, meet Indigenous men and women who understand this extraordinary country and have fought for the rights of the world's oldest culture. Theirs is a struggle more selfless, heroic and enduring than any historical adventure non-Indigenous Australians are required incessantly to celebrate.

I know this to be true, because I have been reporting from and filming in Indigenous communities for most of my life. In 1984, I met one of the best Australians, Kwementyaye Randall.

All societies need some form of law and order. Over many years of political organising, police who agreed with my right to protest and assisted when political or industrial rallies were being organised earned my respect.

But throughout Australia’s history, there are many examples of how laws in our society tend to protect the rights and property of the wealthy at the expense of the working class.

Well known are massacres against Aboriginals and miners at Eureka. Less well publicised has been police violence during industrial disputes, acting on the side of employers.

ANZACS in Arkhangel: The Untold Story of Australia and the Invasion of Russia 1918-19
By Michael Challinger
Hardie Grant Books, 2010, 285 pages, $35 (pb)

“The remedy for Bolshevism is bullets”, was the blunt message of the editorial in Britain’s establishment newspaper, The Times, in 1919 as military forces from 16 capitalist countries invaded Russia after the 1917 revolution. Among the invaders were about 150 Australian soldiers, as recounted in Michael Challinger’s history of the Australian role in the invasion.

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