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In Australia, Treasurer Wayne Swan made headlines by saying he was a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen ― despite implementing neoliberal economic policies of the sort Springsteen rails against. Mining billionaire and wannabe Liberal politician Clive Palmer jumped up to respond that his favourite band was Redgum ― despite the famously left-wing folk band, active in the 1970s and '80s, representing politics that are the exact opposite politics to Palmer's.

A Russian judge sentenced three members of Pussy Riot to two years each in prison on hooliganism charges on August 17.

The judge said the three band members, who have already been detained for five months, committed hooliganism driven by religious hatred and offending religious believers.

The women smiled sadly at the testimony of prosecution witnesses accusing them of sacrilege and “devilish dances” in church.

They remained calm after the judge announced the sentence and someone in the courtroom shouted: “Shame!”

People are raising their voices in Sydney over August 24-26 to raise awareness among activists of songs, old and new, that further movements for social change.

There was a time when protest songs attracted positive media attention; now the media tends to complain about the lack of contemporary “protest” songs while they simultaneously ignore or rubbish them.

Eskape Reality
Eskatology
July 25, 2012
Bandcamp

What's in a name? Everything, for Aboriginal rapper Eskatology. His music has his name written all over it.

Eskatology, also known as 26-year-old South Australian Jonathan Stier, first came across the term "eschatology" through studying religion.

"Religion does play a part in my life, and I was doing a bit of religious studying and came across this word and it intrigued me," he tells Green Left Weekly.

When you are in a hole, you stop digging. Even if this were not a cliche by now, it would still be common sense.

Does this mean, then, that Russian President Vladimir Putin and the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church lack basic reasoning skills? The decision to extend the stay in prison of three members of feminist punk band Pussy Riot certainly seems to prove so.

Pee Records
PO Box 238, Marden,
South Australia 5070
www.peerecords.com

"Pretty much all of our bands write songs about social, political and personal issues," says Pete Harding, the founder of South Australian hardcore punk label Pee Records.

"With 16 or 17 active bands on the label, we have a lot of different acts covering different issues.

Mission Culture, a social program that aims to transform cultural education in Venezuela, celebrated its seventh anniversary on July 10, the state-run Venezuelan News Agency (AVN) said.

The program was created on July 10, 2005, by the government of President Hugo Chavez. It has since trained more than 12,000 people in different areas of the arts to foster a renewal of popular creativity.

Ghosts of Dier Yassin
Phil Monsour
www.philmonsour.com

Brisbane-based singer-songwriter Phil Monsour has just released his latest CD, Ghosts of Dier Yassin. As those familiar with the struggles of the Palestinian people may recognise from the title, many songs convey the hopes and spirit of the Palestinian people longing for freedom and security.

A Breath Of Stale Air
Local Resident Failure
Pee Records
Released June, 2012
peerecords.com

Newcastle punks Local Resident Failure are heavier than Clive Palmer, tighter than Gina Rinehart and have just dropped a motherlode of a debut album.

But the analogies with Australia's mining fat cats end there. A Breath Of Stale Air spits gobfuls of bile at right-wingers, from the mainstream media to racist rednecks - not least on "Every Day's A Holiday On Christmas Island", the band's scathing condemnation of xenophobia.

Black Sheep of The American Dream
Death By Stereo
Released April 24, 2012
Viking Funeral Records
http://deathbystereo.com/

Californian hardcore punk band Death By Stereo have long been known for their politically charged lyrics, energising the scene with their debut If Looks Could Kill, I'd Watch You Die 13 years ago.

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