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.
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);
April 24, 1915, was the beginning of the slaughter 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in what is now Turkey. This set a dangerous precedent that has been copied and expanded upon by later despotic governments. Despite its morbid place in world history, governments around the world, including major international powers, refuse to acknowledge that it ever happened.
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.
Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos recognised and thanked Cuba on November 12 for its important support in achieving national independence 40 years ago. Commemorating four decades of independence from colonial powers, dos Santos invited a Cuban delegation to honour the historical events that led Fidel Castro to deploy 36,000 troops to defend Angola from a US-back military invasion by forces of apartheid South Africa.
Remembrance Day is marked in Commonwealth nations on November 11 -- to commemorate the end of the bloodbath that was World War I. As a commemoration of fallen soldiers, it is overshadowed in Australia by Anzac Day -- but is a far bigger deal in Britain.
Red Rosa: A Graphic Biography of Rosa Luxemburg By Kate Evans Edited by Paul Buhle Verso Books, London, 2015, 220 pages $16.95. Order here Perhaps a new comic-book super hero is about to take the world by storm. An unlikely Frau Luxemburg, who transforms from a tiny and odd-looking outsider into the almost unstoppable Red Rosa — Revolutionary Scourge of the Oppressors.
October marked 50 years since the start of the campaign of mass killing of Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) members and sympathisers in Indonesia. It is estimated as many as 1 million people were killed or jailed during 1965-1966, carried out as part of Suharto's Western-backed military coup.
Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly asserted that Adolf Hitler had no intention of exterminating Europe's Jews until a Palestinian persuaded him to do it. The Israeli prime minister's attempt to whitewash Hitler and lay the blame for the Holocaust at the door of Palestinians signals a major escalation of his incitement against and demonisation of the people living under his country's military and settler-colonial rule. It also involves a good deal of Holocaust denial.
Tom Iljas visits his mother's grave in West Sumatra. He was stopped from visiting the grave of his father who was killed during the 1965 massacre of leftists. Photo: Yulia Evina Bhara.