Cultural Dissent

Social democracy's past and present dissected in new book

A Short History Of Social Democracy: From Socialist Origins To Neoliberal Theocracy
By John Rainford
Resistance Books
$20, 184pp.

The rise and then fall of social democracy as a movement for fundamental social change is a modern tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. It is one of the epic stories of the 19th and 20th centuries.

East Timor's nightmare relived on stage

Massacre is an explosive theatre work about the politics and violence of East Timor. Produced by Stone/Castro (Australia) and Colectivo 84 (Portugal), it features John Romao as “Timor” and Paulo Castro as “East”.

They work with “weapons of grotesque, sarcasm and a thrash metal soundtrack to create a scenic, hypnotic and dangerous game. The mutant metamorphosis of Australia, Indonesia and Portugal make for an in-your-face confrontation to the East Timor crisis.”

AFL player Nathan Lovett-Murray seeks payback through hip hop

When Australian Football League player Nathan Lovett-Murray was growing up, his favourite record was “Black Boy” by Coloured Stone.

“Black boy,” goes the song, “black boy/The colour of your skin is your pride and joy/Black boy/Black boy/Your life is not destroyed.”

Lovett-Murray still marvels at its power.

“So many Indigenous people could relate to that song and just feel proud about being an Indigenous person when they heard it,” he tells Green Left Weekly.

Ten new political albums worth a listen - April 2015

Here's this month's radical record round-up, including a response to the "Reclaim Australia" rallies. What album, or albums, would you suggest? Comment below, on Twitter or Facebook.

1. SUPER BEST FRIENDS
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Rapper Miss Hood speaks out for her sisters

It's Fatal
Miss Hood
Payback Records
Out now
www.facebook.com/misshoodoffical

Hard-hitting rapper Miss Hood comes from a long line of women warriors. Her ancestors, the Kunai and Gunditjmara people of eastern and western Victoria, put female fighters on the frontline.

"Both of the tribes were matriarchal, so women were equal to men," says the Melbourne-based emcee. "It wasn't unusual to have women warriors as well as men warriors."

Little wonder, then, that her music packs such a powerful feminist punch.

An engaging look at Scotland's independence campaign

The People’s Referendum: Why Scotland Will Never Be the Same Again
by Paul Geoghegan
Luath Press 2015
177 pages

The British-wide general election for the Westminster parliament scheduled for May 7 looks set to be very close, perhaps even closer than the 2010 election that resulted in the Labour Party being replaced by a Conservative Party-Liberal Democrat coalition government.

Opinion polls suggest that neither of the two main British parties, Conservative or Labour, will win enough seats for a majority of their own in the House of Commons.

Günter Grass, German author and activist, dies aged 87

Günter Grass, who was one of Germany’s most important post-war novelists, died on April 13 at the age of 87 in the town of Lübeck, in northern Germany.

Grass was perhaps most famous for his 1959 book The Tin Drum, a novel that embodied fantastical elements in its critique of Weimar and Nazi Germany. As such, his style bore resemblances to Latin America’s genre of magical realism. In 1979, the book was turned into an Academy Award winning film by Volker Schlöndorff, which won the Oscar for best foreign film.

Eduardo Galeano — famed chronicler of Latin America’s ‘open veins’ — dies aged 74

Internationally awarded Uruguayan author and journalist Eduardo Galeano died on April 13 of lung cancer at age 75 in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay.

Born September 3, 1940, Galeano was author of about 35 books, including 1971’s Open Veins of Latin America, which details how Western powers have exploited Latin America and its resources for centuries. It became a bestseller overnight after the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez handed the book a Barack Obama during the fifth Summit of the Americas in 2009.

Geoffrey Robertson remembers the Armenian genocide

The Inconvenient Genocide: Who Remembers the Armenians?
Geoffrey Robertson QC, Vintage Books,
Sydney, 294 pages, 2014

On the eve of Nazi Germany’s 1939 invasion of Poland, Adolf Hitler urged his generals “to kill without mercy men, women and children of the Polish race or language”.

“Only in such a way will we win [what] we need,” Hitler said. “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians.”

The Nazi leader was referring to the genocide carried out by the Ottoman Turkish empire in 1915 against the Armenian people within its borders.

Telling account of Israeli war on architectural ideals

White City, Black City: Architecture & War in Tel Aviv & Jaffa
By Sharon Rotbard
Pluto Press, £14.99

In July 2003, Unesco put the “White City” of Tel Aviv on its list of World Heritage Sites. It took almost 20 years of incessant campaigning by the Israeli state to secure this recommendation that, de facto, legitimised far-reaching aspects of Zionist ideology.

But was there any merit to the Tel Aviv case in the first place? In fact, the building of Tel Aviv began adjacently to Jaffa — one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities of the world — only from about 1909.

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