In this episode, Jon (@JonPiccini) has a long delayed conversation with Shan Windscript (@ShanWindy), Phd student at University of Melbourne and organiser, who has played key roles in the fight for casual workers in the tertiary sector and the rights of international students. We talk about how the Coronavirus has served to weaponise long standing fears about China in Australia, how supporting movements for change in Hong Kong is not incompatible with working for political and economic rights on the mainland, and how Shan’s research on the inner lives of everyday activists in Maoist China undermines attempts to present the present CCP regime as omnipotent.
One of the contributions from Gong Commune to the recent snap action in response to the bush fire crisis:
I would like to Acknowledge that we are gathering here today on the lands of the Dharawal and Yuin People. To acknowledge that since invasion the struggle for sovereignty, community, Country and dignity has never ceased. The successful, careful custodianship for millennia that First Nations people have practiced here in so-called Australia, on the very lands we now stand, across the beautiful Yuin Country down south and across the entire continent, throws into stark relief the fundamental violence of settler colonial capitalism. In but a couple of hundred years, this system has wrought such deep destruction on these lands, of which the current fire crisis is just one aspect. I want to pay respects to all First Nations people present here today. Pay my respect to all elders past present and…
I’ve always been one of those people (you know, the artists,
religious believers and flat-earthers) who believes not everything can be
explained by science. Science is good for understanding the mechanics of how
things work, but not necessarily why we should care how they work. Scientific
studies are rarely unburdened by the individual biases and influences of the scientist,
and a “scientific worldview” carries its own preconceptions.
Like any ideology, it can be used to avoid debate and blind us to other possibilities (“it’s simple science!”), and can be frustratingly conservative, like when evolutionary psychologists give answers to explain why we act in certain ways with no acknowledgement of the very human (evolutionary) urge to explore and progress.
In recent years, in the struggle to stop catastrophic
climate change, one of the repeated catchcries has been to “listen to science” and its studies of climate impacts. Like some kind of…
Now that the hot-takes have gone cold and are stale as bricks @JonPiccini and @withsobersenses take out their artisanal slow-cooker take on the recent Australian Federal election. Why did we get it so wrong? Why did #changetherules suck? What will a Morrison Coalition government look like and what does it mean for our strategy?
CW: This show contains a discussion of misogyny and domestic violence.
[Edit – the audio file was replaces at 4pm 15/5/2019]
In this episode Jon (@JonPiccini) and Dave
(@withsobersenses) try to work out if we have anything useful to say about an
election that is all hype but actually a snoozefest. What does it tell us about
the state of Australian society, what can anticapitalists draw from it? Are we
about the #Changetherules or will Clive Palmer be leading us into a Kangaroo
Reich? What happens the morning after?
We also address some criticisms we have received and try to muddle through some blindspots in our thinking.
In this episode Dave (@withsobersenses) chats with Keir Milburn (@KeirMilburn ). Keir is from Leeds and has been an anti-state communist for a respectable amount of time (and is an all round good egg). Previously a member of Class War and the Leeds May Day Group/ The Free Association he is now part of Plan C. Recently he has been trying to think through how anti-capitalists can related to the rise of Corbyn and the return of social democracy. We talk through the arguments and deal with some of the critiques. He has a new book Generation Left out now.
In this episode Dave (@withsobersenses) chats with Elena Jeffreys (@ElenaJeffreys) from the sex worker organisation Respect Inc. Elena talks about the history of sex worker self-organisations, the conditions of sex workers in Australia today and the importance of the struggle to decriminalise sex work to improve the working conditions and lives of sex workers. Elena digs into the what is wrong with the ‘Swedish Model’, the negative and violent impact it has had on peoples’ lives, and the role that sections of feminism and the Left have played in instituting it. Content Warning – the episode mentions violence against women.
Music by Goran Bregovic – (with possibly ambiguous lyrics)
In this episode Jon (@JonPiccini) and Dave (@withsobersenses) review ACTU Secretary Sally McManus’ book On Fairness.We try to dig in to how McManus fails to understand the actual dynamics of capitalism – rather blaming bad people and bad ideas for the problems we face. This means the book points us in the wrong direction. Rather we need to address the core dynamics in our society if we want to fight exploitation and oppression today and struggle for and create a society where we can live lives worth living.
You can find Jon’s article on Labor, Trade Unions and the White Australia Policy here:
Some of us are old enough to remember the stunning images of indigenous rebels storming San Cristobal de Las Casas in 1994. We took in the reports with awe and excitement. These visions became emblematic of a wave of global struggles against late capitalism’s global trade plans and the subsequent impoverishment of the majority world’s peoples and lands. They captured the attentions of many different perspectives, under a banner of global resistance that continues to shape the world we know today.
Ten years later, some of us gathered together to form an organization in Australia aiming to think about Zapatista politics and critically engage with the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle. Most of us had never been to Mexico, let alone to the Zapatistas’ autonomous communities. This didn’t matter. We could learn from the words of our Zapatista comrades regardless of where in the world we were. True, the situation that we confront in various cities in Australia was (and continues to be) very different to the situation lived in communities like La Garrucha or 22 de Diciembre. But we felt that we shared a desire for a world in common, not a world at the disposal of big capitalist ambitions to excavate the mineral resources, to destroy the forests and to put us all to work at the service of the bosses’ wallet. We too live on lands where genocide of Indigenous peoples continues to occur in order for capital to command the lands and the peoples who belong to the land. While Australia may be rich as a nation, it continues to have some of the world’s worst rates of curable diseases and poverty among Aboriginal peoples. The Zapatistas put into words what many of people here had felt for a long time.