History

“Not of sound mind when I committed me crime, some said. Others... I'd orchestrated the whole damm thing. On reflection, I do ask meself… Was I morally or legally responsible for what I had done? You see, I never set out to harm anyone, but simply to remind the British empire dat as an Irishman... I wasn't about to stand idle and watch as me fellow countrymen were being hanged for defending their own country.”

So wrote Henry James O'Farrell, an alleged Irish Fenian (as 19th century Irish revolutionaries were known), who made a failed assassination attempt on Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, in Sydney on March 12, 1868.

At the height of the US invasion of Vietnam, about 500,000 United States military personnel were involved in the conflict. Of those, more than 50,000 lost their lives — and the US lost the war.

Two new books illustrate the enormous breadth, depth and courage of the soldier (GI) movement against the war.

Waging Peace in Vietnam is an ideological hand grenade thrown at the war mongers. Winter Warrior, for its part, uses a graphic, comic-book style to show the terrible personal cost inflicted on at least one anti-war Vet.

Radical Perth, Militant Fremantle 2nd Ed.
Edited by Charlie Fox, Alexis Vassiley, Bobbie Oliver & Lenore Layman
Interventions Inc., 2019
462 pages, pb

Following the success of the first edition of Radical Perth, Militant Fremantle in 2017, the editors heeded calls for the anthology to publish a second, more updated edition.The editors made several very apparent changes from the first edition.

Considering the terrors that Mikhail Sholokhov lived through and nearly perished from in Stalinist Russia, it is a wonder that the Soviet novelist retained any sense of humour. Yet he did.

Donald Duck helping stop a revolution

How to Read Donald Duck
By Ariel Dorfman & Armand Mattelart, translated by David Kunzle
Pluto Press, 2019 
192 pp, $17.00

Today, as the streets of Chile burn with rebellion, it is timely to look back on this book, which was burned by the military during the 1973 overthrow of the socialist Salvador Allende presidency.

Evald Ilyenkov

Finding Evald Ilyenkov: How a Soviet philosopher who stood up for dialectics continues to inspire
By Corinna Lotz
Lupus Books, 2019 
57 pp., $8
Order online

Gough Whitlam.

Gough Whitlam was a maverick social democrat who believed a foreign power should not be allowed to dictate Australia’s economic and foreign policies. There seems little doubt the US was involved in his sacking.

"Art is a weapon in the People's fight" declared an advert for a 1940 production of the play Women by the left-wing Workers Art Guild (WAG) that was active in Perth from 1935 to 1942.

Blinded by the Light is a coming-of-age film set in 1980s Britain during the era of Margaret Thatcher. It revolves around the trials and tribulations of 16-year-old Pakistani teenager Javed as he struggles to deal with his domineering and traditional Pakistani family, racism and Thatcher's neoliberal assaults.

An edition of Arbeiter und Soldat

Martin Monath is one of the great, though barely known heroes of World War II. A German-Jewish Marxist, he fled the Nazis and operated underground, first in Belgium and then in France.

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