Australia

On November 9 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, marking what many hoped would be a new era of cooperation and openness across borders. Thirty years later, the opposite seems to have happened.

Edifices of fear, both real and imaginary, are being constructed everywhere fuelling a rise in xenophobia and creating a far more dangerous walled world for refugees fleeing for safety, writes European Alternatives.

As recently as last year, the gig economy’s “independent contractor” business model seemed like an unstoppable force.

It started with Uber, but soon spread to food delivery and before long was entering new sectors, such as freight, logistics and healthcare. The model had reached hero status in the business community. It was the neoliberal panacea, a cure for all their ills. Sham gig economy contracting provided the perfect business solution to all those pesky costs, such as minimum wage, superannuation and workers’ compensation.

Melbourne-based researcher Iain McIntyre is the author of a number of books including a recent anthology entitled On The Fly! Hobo Literature and Songs, 1879-1941. Rachel Evans spoke to him about the 2019 How To Make Trouble and Influence People Diary he has produced as a fundraiser for the Rainforest Information Centre and Community Radio 3CR.

***

Don’t Forget Super
By Brian Boyd
Published by the Victorian Electrical Trades Union, 2018

Ever wondered where your superannuation scheme came from and what it is meant to do?

I always thought it was a lump sum payment so I could buy a caravan and go around Australia before going on the age pension, and many have tried to do just that. But today anyone will tell you the age pension is not enough to live on, and working until your 67 is just not possible for most people, especially if you work in the construction industry.

Chanting “Not the church, not the state, women will decide our fate”,  supporters of women’s right to choose gathered outside NSW parliament on November 15 to oppose conservative MLC Fred Nile’s third attempt to introduce a foetal personhood bill in the Legislative Assembly.

Victorian Socialists are running candidates across every Legislative Council region in Victoria and in more than a dozen Legislative Assembly seats. Below are the lead Victorian Socialists candidates for the upper house regions. To see the full list of candidates visit victoriansocialists.org.au

An Imperial Disaster: The Bengal Cyclone of 1876
Benjamin Kingsbury
Hurst, 2018
256 pp, $45

In the early hours of October 31, 1876, there was a terrible convergence of storm, tide and full moon in the Bay of Bengal. Its immediate effect was to send a giant wave, 12 metres high, over the low lying islands and coastal areas.

At least 215,000 people drowned.

It was followed by famine as shocked communities tried to scrounge what food they could. Then at least a further 100,000 died in a cholera epidemic.

The Darkening Age
By Catherine Nixey
Pan Macmillan, 2018
352 pp, $32.99

Do you remember the horror in 2015 when ISIS seized the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria, killed archaeologist Khaled al-Asaad who had protected its monuments and attacked the 12-metre-high statue of Athena?

It wasn’t the first time that statue was attacked by religious fanatics. As Catherine Nixey records, in the 4th Century, Christian zealots attacked Palmyra and pulled the statue down. It lay in ruins until Muslim experts put it back together.

Protesters gathered outside the SBS offices in Artarmon on November 15 to urge the national multicultural broadcaster not to screen Eurovision 2019, which will be held in Israel.

This November 30, I, along with hundreds — possibly thousands — of high school students will be participating in a student strike for climate action, writes Leo Crnogorcevic.

Pages

Subscribe to Australia