‘The Party Was Like Our Family’: An Interview With Nick Southall (Part 1)

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Nick’s CPA Membership Card

On Thursday 24 March 2016 I interviewed my friend and comrade Nick Southall about some of his experiences as a young activist in the Communist Party of Australia in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In the interview we touch on a number of themes including Nick’s early involvement in the Young Communist Movement, his years as a full-time party cadre, tensions within the party between the national leadership and the South Coast District and the party’s relationship with international communist and resistance movements and domestic social movements. Where many histories of the CPA which focus on machinations at the national level, Nick’s story reveals a living organisation with deep roots in the Wollongong labour movement and community that functioned as a family, if at times a dysfunctional one.

I have edited the transcript for clarity and length with Nick’s approval.

Continue reading “‘The Party Was Like Our Family’: An Interview With Nick Southall (Part 1)”

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Living The Dream with the Anti-Poverty Network Queensland

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In this episode Dave (@withsobersenses) chats with Andrew(@fernandre3000) and Feargal(@feargal89) from the Anti-Poverty Network Qld. We talk about what they have been up to, what their strategy is and how this has gone. APN Qld are one of the most exciting developments going on in Queensland right now with friends and comrades leaving old and stale forms of activism behind to experiment with organising based on where people are at and in ways that directly speak to lived conditions. It is exciting stuff.

APN have a conference coming up We Deserve A Living – Anti-Poverty Week Conference 2018

We talk about:

‘We had Marx, they had Pauline’: left organising in poor communities by Joanna Horton

Working for the class: The praxis of the Wollongong Out of Workers’ Unionby Nick Southall

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Music by Gang of Four

What’s going on with Change the Rules? A report from the Melbourne Delegates Meeting 25th September

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(What’s going on with Change The Rules? There is a lot of hype out there but what is happening on the ground? Here is a report back from a friend and comrade of the Melbourne Delegates Meeting held on 25th September.)

Hey all, this is some notes I posted on my facebook page for friends and comrades about the delegates meeting held by the ACTU at Melbourne Convention Centre on September 25th. They weren’t meant for wider circulation but Dave suggested putting them on the blog, so please forgive the lack of formality and take them as an invitation to further discussion.

Continue reading “What’s going on with Change the Rules? A report from the Melbourne Delegates Meeting 25th September”

Living The Dream with a UBI whilst fighting against racism and for public housing

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In this episode Dave(@withsobersenses) chats again with Michael. We talk about a recent article he wrote on Universal Basic Income and the debates it sparked with proponents of a Jobs Guarantee, his attendance at and thoughts on Tim Soutphommasane’s recent Whitlam Institute speech on combating racism, and Michael’s participation in recent struggles for increased Public Housing.

Stuff we mention includes

Michael Thorn – Is There Room for Universal Basic Income in Australia

Tim Soutphommasane – Confronting the Return of Race Politics

The Australian Unemployed Workers’ Union

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Music by Idles

Living the Dream after the Plebiscite and amongst the Alt-Right

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In this episode Dave (@withsobersenses) and Jon (@jonpiccini) catch up with Simon Copland (@SimonCopland) ‏ again. We talk about how despite the plebiscite being a fantastic victory the Left (for lack of a better term) seems determined to see it as a defeat and what the impact of this is. Simon also talks about going to, live tweeting from and then writing about a recent Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux talk and his thoughts about how the struggle against reaction can be renovated.

Things we mention include:

Simon Copland – Racists on speaking tour: rethinking our response

Alison Pennington – On the Plebiscite: Beyond Defeatism, Moralism and the Politics of Scarcity

Red Action – Declaration Of Independence

You can find Simon’s work here and our older episode with him here

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Music by Idles

Living The Dream with the National Disability Insurance Scheme Ep 2

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In this episode Dave (@withsobersenses) chats with friend of the show Michael. Michael talks about how the NDIS has changed the experience of those that work in care and community services, how it has impacted work conditions and how it has undermined the kind of care that those on the NDIS receive. We also talk about what does this mean for struggle around these issues? What are the unions doing? What are the workers doing? How does this impact with a larger question about the struggle against poverty in Australian society?

This is the second show we have done on the NDIS. Our first episode can be found here

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Living The Dream with The Maritime Defence Committee during the 1998 Wharf Dispute

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A Banner on the Main Gate of Patrick Stevedores East Swanson Dock in Melbourne.
© Takver. http://www.takver.com/

It has been twenty years since the Wharf Dispute between Patrick Stevedores and the Coalition Government on one side and the Maritime Union of Australia, the Trade Unions and supporters on the other. This was the last set piece national confrontation between Capital and Labour over a specific industrial dispute to happen in Australia. In this episode Dave (@withsobersenses) chats with Nick Southall about the Maritime Defence Committee. The latter was formed by comrades outside of the industry to provide meaningful support for the struggle. What happened during the dispute and are there implications for class struggle today?

Articles mention include

Nick Southall   Getting the Gong – A Tale of Two Cities

Shane Reside  Rules made for breaking: beyond ‘Change the Rules’

Music by Rage Against The Machine

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Living The Dream at Labour Day 2018

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Image by Collective Action ‘a revolutionary anarchist group based in so-called Melbourne, Australia.’ http://www.collectiveaction.org.au

In this episode Dave (@withsobersenses) grabs a recorder and heads to the Labour Day rally. He interviews friends and comrades about the rally, what they think the impact of #ChangeTheRules has been, and if there is any opportunity to broaden and open up struggle? Due to a moments hestitation he didn’t try to interview Sally McManus as she walked past.

Music by Alistair Hulet

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Living The Dream during Trump’s Trade War

In this episode of Living The Dream Dave (@withsobersenses) tries to start an analysis of the Trump administration’s trade and tariff policy. Why has the Australian Left been so paralysed over this question? What sense can we make of it? How do we understand the policies of the state in the broader dynamics of world capitalism?

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 Stuff mentioned includes:

U.S. Admits That Politics Was Behind Steel Tariffs(not a Brazilian paper but a US paper reporting on US representatives talking to Brazilian business leaders)

Marx and Engles on Free Trade

Midnight Notes Collective – Introduction to The New Enclosures

II Rubin – A History of Economic Thought

Music by the Levon Helm Band

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