history

A people's history of colonial Malaya


PKMM rally, 1946.

Radicals: Resistance & Protest in Colonial Malaya
By Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied
Northern Illinois University Press (NUI), 2015
228 pages

On a night in 2010, a crowd of onlookers gathered to watch the demolition of a 300 metre wall of the century-old Purdu prison in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital.

John Pilger: January 26 is Australia's day for secrets, flags and cowards


Photo: Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association.

On 26 January, one of the saddest days in human history will be celebrated in Australia. It will be "a day for families", say the newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch. Flags will be dispensed at street corners and displayed on funny hats. People will say incessantly how proud they are.

English socialist rockers The Hurriers say Corbyn is bringing hope

British band The Hurriers are passionate, independently-driven — both in terms of control of their output, promo and gigs — and, almost as a bonus, a kick-ass in-your-face rock'n'roll act.

The five-piece hails from Barnsley in South Yorkshire, a working-class town with a long history of mining. Their debut From Acorns, Mighty Oaks was released last May and is a cracker.

A self-made history man looks at war

A History Man’s Past & Other People’s Stories: A Shared Memoir. Part One: Other People’s Wars
By John Tognolini
2015, 160 pages
pb $24, ebook $5
Order the book

Suffragette offers paean to women's struggle, but a distorted story

Suffragette
Directed by Sarah Gavron, written by Abi Morgan
Starring Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter & Meryl Streep
In cinemas now

Suffragette, written by a woman (Abi Morgan), directed by a woman (Sarah Gavron) and co-produced by two women (Alison Owen and Faye Ward) is a paean of praise to the British women who rebelliously demanded the right for women to vote.

A US songwriter's take on the global refugee crisis

The United Nations has a strict definition of the term "refugee," whereby you are only a refugee if you are fleeing war or persecution of some kind. If you are fleeing a place because there is no way for you to feed yourself or your family if you stay, the UN defines this kind of movement as "migration." Until 1967, the only refugees recognized by the original refugee convention were Europeans.

Australia: A brave new world — Federation to Depression

During the 1890s the Australian colonies were ravaged by unemployment, industrial conflict and misery. Economic conditions became so bad there was a determined attempt to create a different society, a society that was protected from the ravages of capitalism.

One such attempt was by journalist William Lane who, in 1893, had little difficulty in recruiting members to his new utopian society in distant Paraguay. This attempt was ultimately a failure, mainly due to Lane's demanding personality, but the idea of a new, fairer society lingered.

The worst massacre in Paris since WWII was the 1961 police killing of Algerian protesters

If the horrific attacks in Paris, France have taught us anything, it is that some tragedies matter more than others.

For example, look no further than these headlines:

120 Dead in Paris Attacks, Worst Since WWII (ABC/AP, November 14);
Paris Wakes Up Under Siege After Deadliest Attack Since WWII (The Daily Beast, November 14);

The West's terror hypocrisy: who is the biggest threat?

Since the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, the world's leaders and media have predictably reminding the world that the attacks' perpetrator – ISIS – has declared war to the death against humanity.

ISIS would not deny this. Indeed, making this point was the reason it carried out the Paris attacks, which killed 129 people.

Joe Hill — remembering a 'troubadour of discontent' 100 years on from his execution

Joe Hill was a senior organiser, popular songwriter and cartoonist for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), more commonly known as the Wobblies. The 100th anniversary of his death is being commemorated worldwide this month.

Hill’s life is best remembered in labour movement songs that are still performed today by such renowned artists as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Bruce Springsteen. It could be argued that he is more famous now in death than he ever was in life.

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