Open letters are funny things. Who are they really addressed to? Do they solicit an answer and if so from whom? And if an answer was sent who would it be addressed to and would it arrive in time? An open letter to UQ Philosophy by Taylor Redwood compels serious engagement. For the most part the open letter is both a stinging critique of the contemporary university and of the functional cynicism of the contemporary student. Now this is reason enough to be read but it doesn’t really necessitate a response. But the open letter is more than this. It is the first statement that has emerged in the context of the current cycle of struggles in Brisbane that explicitly places the relationship between theory and action on the table. And for this reason, it is worth noting and taking seriously. This open letter is much like Machiavelli’s cannon – it ‘marches in the opposite direction to that in which it fires’ (Althusser 2000, 5). Whilst the open letter is aimed at the UQ Philosophy Department it really is a line of flight away from the university proper into a new intellectual and theoretical space.
Anni and I were walking down Albert St after having lunch and talking shit and we ran straight into a foyer occupation by the Maritime Union of Australia. There were about 50 members there, and some others from the CFMEU and the ASU – I don’t know if the latter were officials or not but the bulk of the MUA were members. The occupation was a protest against Rio Tinto (whose office is in the building) crewing ships in Australian waters with non-Australian crews paid with lower wages than they would have to pay locals.[i] As we got there the cops were assembling and were threatening to arrest people if they didn’t leave. The threat was that they would be locked in, arrested and charged with trespass. The crowd were standing tall and answering back to the cops – who were obviously flustered and made a few not so vailed threats ( ‘you will be arrested and I hope we can keep it all non-violent’.)
In a special episode of Living The Dream, Max and Natalie (@DrNatOsborne) join Jon (@JonPiccini) to discuss radical happenings in Brisbane of late. We talk about the election of Jonathon Sri in the Brisbane City Council elections of last year, why Brisbane is experiencing such a strong wave of ‘right to the city’ activism and how these two interconnect. Musings on the interconnections between social movements and elections, the global and the local and culture and politics abound.
Listen here: Download this episode (right click and save)
South Brisbane Greens – https://www.facebook.com/SouthBrisbaneGreens/
Right to the City Brisbane – https://www.facebook.com/righttothecitybrisbane/
tactical urbanism – http://tacticalurbanismguide.com/
Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance – https://www.facebook.com/WARcollective/
Jonathon Sri, Councillor for the Gabba – https://www.facebook.com/jonno.sri/
Henri Lefebvre – https://chisineu.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/lefebvre-henri-writings-on-cities.pdf
Music by the Mouldy Lovers – which was the painfully obvious choice.
#SandersofSthBrisbane ? Council elections, social movements & #theRighttotheCity
In this episode of Living the Dream Jon (@JonPiccini ) and Dave (@withsobersenses) chat with Anna – all-round good egg and comrade pivotal to Radio Reversal and Brisbane Free University – about the successful Brisbane City Council election campaign of Jonathan Sri , the opposition to the West Village development and the emergence of struggles around the Right to the City. What’s going on, how do all these pieces fit together and what do they tell us about struggles within-against-and-beyond capitalism for lives of dignity?
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David Harvey – The Right to The City
Queensland Government. 2016. “2016-17 Queensland Budget Papers.”