Posts in: culture & reviews

Black radical leadership in Depression-era Alabama

December 2015

In the 25th anniversary reissue of his book Hammer and Hoe, Robin D.G. Kelley tells the absorbing story of the courage and perseverance of Black communists working underground in the dangerous Depression-era South. Kelley, an esteemed Black author and educator, thoroughly documents the role of the Alabama Communist Party (CP) in this period. By far,… Read more »

Freedom Socialist book review — Marx’s Ecology: Materialism and Nature — Discovering Karl Marx, the essential ecologist

February 2016

Many environmentalists disdain the ideas of Karl Marx. Some tout the spiritual virtues of environmental “ideals.” Some argue for individual solutions like recycling, reduced consumption and “going back to the land.” Anti-communists claim that the ecological crimes of the Stalinist-era USSR flowed from Marxism itself. John Bellamy Foster’s Marx’s Ecology: Materialism and Nature counters all… Read more »

History confirms criminal culture of denial: Killer Company — James Hardie Exposed

Summer/Autumn 2010

There’s a theme running through Matt Peacock’s book. It’s about a culture of denial, orchestrated by the board of James Hardie. Matt’s been involved in the fight against the deadly mineral, asbestos, for more than 30 years. My involvement isn’t quite that long, but there’s a relevant passage on page 41that particularly caught my attention…. Read more »

Abolish the framework of fear: Demolish the ABCC!

Winter/Spring 2009

Review of Framework of Flesh: Builders’ Labourers Battle for Health and Safety, Humphrey McQueen, Ginninderra press, 2009. Will they jail him? Hundreds of unionists in South Australia cheered Ark Tribe as he entered court on 10 March 2009. Tribe is the latest construction worker to be threatened with six months jail for standing up for… Read more »

Black Tears Sanitised

Winter/Spring 2007

On June 2, Powderfinger released their sixth studio album, Dream Days at the Hotel Existence. The album contains a sanitised version of the track, “Black Tears,” after the band was pressured by defence lawyers for Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley, who was charged with manslaughter over the death of Mulrunji in a Palm Island watchhouse. Hurley’s… Read more »

Book review: Guido Barracchi: Tenacious but flawed

Winter/Spring 2007

Jeff Sparrow’s biography of Australian communist Guido Barracchi, Communism: A Love Story is an allegory for twentieth century radicals and anti-authoritarians. Australia has produced a number of prominent rabble-rousers over the past hundred years, including author Frank Hardy, writer Katherine Susannah Pritchard and feminist Germaine Greer. So Sparrow’s choice of subject is an interesting one…. Read more »

Cannot Buy My Soul: Music industry tribute to Kev Carmody

Winter/Spring 2007

Kev Carmody Cannot Buy My Soul is a tribute album, paying homage to singer and songwriter, Kev Carmody. The album, produced by Paul Kelly, is musically brilliant and will bring the gutsy songs of Carmody to a whole new audience. Describing the project, Carmody said: “this is the old folk tradition where old songs and… Read more »

Kabul in Winter: the ravages of war and religious rule in Afghanistan

Summer/Autumn 2007

Kabul in Winter: Life without Peace in Afghanistan (Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2006) hits hard in the gut while absorbing the mind. The book is a scathing indictment of U.S. policies that promoted the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, used the plight of Afghan women to justify an unjust war, and finally… Read more »

Permanent Revolution for the 21st Century

Winter/Spring 2006

Murry Weiss’ pamphlet, titled Women’s emancipation and the future of the Fourth International, is a collection of three short essays written between 1978 and 1982. It also includes an obituary that introduces the reader to Weiss who is described as “a quintessential revolutionary.” Of what interest are the seemingly dated essays to students of the… Read more »