history

Sydney’s Botany Bay was named by Captain James Cook while he was investigating this “great Southern continent” for the British empire in 1770. His exploration led to the First Fleet’s settlement in the area on January 26, 1788, and the beginning of 226 years of massacres, dispossession and abuse of the land’s first people.

So the graffiti discovered along the western shoreline of the bay reading “Fuck Australia Day, no pride in genocide” and on the front of Captain Cook’s heritage cottage in Melbourne labelling January 26 “Australia’s shame” had a symbolic point to their messages.

As Green Left Weekly approaches its 1000th issue, more than 20 years after it first hit the streets, we will be looking back at some of the campaigns it has covered and its role as an alternative source of news.

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The first editorial of Green Left Weekly, urging the Bob Hawke government to not lift sanctions against South Africa until apartheid was completely dismantled, set the anti-racist tone of the paper.

Spartacus (Revealing Antiquity)
By Aldo Schiavone (translation by Jeremy Carden)
Harvard University Press, 2013
208 pp., $29.95

Karl Marx was a great admirer of ancient Roman and Greek philosophers and leaders. However, there was one he singled out as the “finest fellow antiquity had to offer”: Spartacus, the Thracian who led the most significant slave revolt against the Roman empire.

Marx was not the only member of the Spartacus fan club. German Communists led by Rosa Luxemburg named their party after him.

The death of Nelson Mandela on December 5 has focused attention once more on the global struggle against South Africa's aparthied regime. The heroic struggle of the Black population inside South Afica and the solidarity shown by ordinary people around the world was essential to winning Mandela's freedom and dismantling apartheid.

The unity discussions between the Socialist Alliance and Socialist Alternative have come to an end.
In a November 3 letter on behalf of the Socialist Alternative National Executive, Mick Armstrong wrote: “The overall political projects of both organisations are not sufficiently similar to carry through a sustained and productive unity that could advance the cause of the revolutionary left in Australia and the broader class struggle.”

The Socialist Alternative letter lists four major political differences:

In early February 1978, on the strength of a claimed turnover of $1 billion, the Australian Financial Review reported that “at this sort of growth rate Nugan Hand will soon be bigger than BHP.”

Conflict In The Unions: The Communist Party of Australia, Politics & the Trade Union Movement, 1945-60
By Douglas Jordan
Resistance books, 2013
312 page, $30

Conflict In The Unions is an important new book examining the union activity of the Communist Party of Australia during a very turbulent time in Australian and world politics. The book looks at the period of 1945-'60, when the Cold War reached its height.

Of the six nations that reached a preliminary deal with Iran concerning its nuclear program, five ― the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China ― have nuclear arsenals.

Atomic weapons were first developed by the US, the only country to have used them against large urban populations twice, over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those two war crimes killed hundreds of thousands of people.

The hypocrisy is compounded by the fact that the strongest opponent of Iran in the Middle East is Israel, which has hundreds of fission and hydrogen bombs.

Undesirable: Captain Zuzenko & the Workers of Australia & the World
By Kevin Windle
Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2013
274 pages, $39.95 (pb)

On November 7, 1917, when the Winter Palace was stormed in Petrograd, sealing the victory of the Russian Revolution, Alexander Mikhailovich Zuzenko, one of the revolution’s most loyal servants, faced a local court in Ingham in northern Queensland. He was working on the canefields and was fined 10 shillings for losing his “aliens registration certificate”.

When Japanese forces occupied French Indochina in 1941, it was not entirely without French opposition. But for the most part it was close to business-as-usual for the French in Vietnam. Japan left the French colonial administration intact, beholden now to Tokyo rather than Paris.

It was oppression-as-usual for the Vietnamese, 2 million of whom Japanese forces starved to death in 1944.

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