Monthly Archives: March 2009

The Bubble – an Israeli movie

By Emad Sinan

Write it down!
I am an Arab.
Card number, fifty thousand.
I have eight children
and the ninth is due after summer.

So, are you angry?
Write it down!
I’m an Arab.
I work with comrades in the
I have eight children.
I break their bread
and clothes and notebooks
from the rocks.
From Identity Card by Mahmoud Darwish

No matter how hard I think to find a way to talk about this topic, it seems just impossible to find a proper starting point, or even a proper language to use.

For the past 2 months or so, all SBS resources have been invested in one direction – and one direction only, that is to improve the image of the racist apartheid regime of the Zionist state, who (in case you haven’t heard) has just finished their latest military act in the world’s biggest open prison (called Gaza), leaving some 1300 people killed, 5000 injured, over half of them were women and children and the vast majority of the rest were civilians! An act, that every historian on this earth declared it as a first in human kind history! This was of no surprise to me, as this regime holds many of “first time in history” records. Continue reading

Direct Action Cinema presents: Power of Community

Cuban power of community

Continue reading

Spirit of Eureka Anniversary Address

Speaker: HUMPHREY McQUEEN, Australian Historian

I’m glad I’m not in the paid workforce after hearing that introduction! [laughs]

In reflecting on this space and Eureka, and Rod was asked to give the dawn address there, it reminded me of four years ago when I was speaking here for the 150th anniversary, it was an occasion on which I, at the end of the evening, I had a long discussion with a great supporter of Eureka, the late John Cummins. And I think it only proper that [pause for applause] that John’s great contribution to the Spirit of Eureka should not pass unremarked here this evening.

I’m going to try and do two things, one of them, I’ll earn my keep as an historian by saying a couple of things about the even of Eureka and their significance, and then I’ve been asked to say something about where the world is going in a hand-cart at the moment. Continue reading

Dilbert got me a pink slip

DilbertBy Bernie Dowling and Ian Curr

A DILBERT cartoon started the process which ended with the firing of an Australian public servant with 22 years employment behind him.

As a joke on 18 February, 2003, Ian Curr sent a Dilbert cartoon to his colleagues in the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) where he worked as a senior technical officer making taxation assessments. Mr. Curr had worked in the tax office for 16 years.

Mr. Curr read the Dilbert comic that morning over the breakfast table in the IT section of his morning paper, the Australian published by News Ltd.

The cartoon has a manager telling an underling to draft a letter: “I will tell you what to say, you go and write it, and I’ll sign it.”

Senior management disliked the Dilbert satire and Mr Curr’s dissemination of it by email.

You sent an email to one or more ATO employees containing sarcastic and belittling commentary and a Dilbert cartoon graphic,” they wrote informing Mr Curr he had possibly breached subsection 13 (3) of the Public Service Act 1999. Continue reading

The Bligh Era – ‘we are all economic rationalists now!’

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” — Muhammad Ali

In Queensland, a state with the first elected woman premier, the government does not have a women’s honour roll but does acknowledge women in hard hats.

Victoria won’t elect a woman as premier — Joan Kirner (sic) — but the Victorian Labor government does acknowledge women with an honour roll.

A difference between Labor politics as practiced North and South?

Peter Beattie’s succession plan worked. However the lineage that produced Bligh goes back to the socialist Left faction founded by George Georges during the Street March era.  A combination of this faction and the women’s movement put Anne Warner into the Goss ministry – the first woman in cabinet in Qld. When Warner retired Anna Bligh took her seat and was soon in the Beattie cabinet. And so it went, only thing was, the faction ditched the word socialist. Socialists had put her there, but no need to keep the name if it did not fit, which it didn’t. Anna Bligh’s chief of staff Mike Kaiser is from the right wing Australian Workers Union (AWU) faction, just to give you an idea of how meaningful factional titles are.

Bligh Cabinet 2009 Continue reading

Group of 17: Obama – yes, we can?

The April Meeting of the 17 Group on Wednesday the 1st of April at 7pm in unit 6 at 20 Drury St, West End will be addressed by Merv Partridge, who is not long back from the United States where he closely observed and recorded on videotape the recent election campaign of Barack Obama.

His talk, illustrated by original video footage, will centre on political dilemmas facing the Obama administration.

Dan O’Neill

Merv’s summary:

Tasting: Obama Koolaid 2008

I made two trips to the United States during 2008 to take care of animals and to observe the primaries and the election.  I had contact with the Obama campaign as well as third party and alternative groups.

Dan has asked me to lead a discussion on the 2008 election and its implications.  Oral (as in video) history is one of my pastimes and I have material that I have just begun processing.

During this session I would like to show some excerpts from Obama’s last speech before the election.  He made the speech at the Fair Grounds in Manassas, Virginia – a site chosen for its historic echoes and because Virginia was considered a litmus test for the election.  A southern slave State in the civil war Virginia has been Republican for decades.  It has been moving Democrat in the last few years and it was widely said that if Obama could carry Virginia he was likely to win the country. Continue reading

Union & Community Weekends

Strategies for Union and Community Organising

Three weekends of reflection, relationship building, and future planning  April 18th & 19th, April 25th & 26th, May 1st – 3rd

Over one weekend at the historic Camp Eureka near Warburton, and two weekends at the MUA, we will bring together young union organisers, students, environmental campaigners and social movement activists with veterans of the labour movement and the Left.

PosterCommWeekendsweb Continue reading

Free Gaza Benefit Concert

Phil Monsour Gaza Concert in Melbourne SATURDAY, 28TH MARCH 7PM

Phil Monsour and band (Brisbane)

The Brothahood
Joelistics (TZU)
Zohab Khan
Nour Abouzeid

+ Traditional Arabic music/dance
+ B-boy performances

MUA HALL, 54 Ireland St West Melbourne


Federal Government bails out yet another renegade company

Nathan Rees holds a press conference after meeting sacked Drivetrain workers. Pictures: JOHN RUSSELL

Sacked Workers from DriveTrain

Community radio station 3CR  has done an interesting interview about 338 Drive Train workers sacked without pay or entitlements.

DriveTrain management has stripped $17M in assets from company using the time worn technique perfected by Corrigan in the Patricks dispute of 1998. Continue reading

Palestine: best prospect for peace? — Jeff Halper

Israeli Anthropologist Professor Jeff Halper

Coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) Public Lecture Series:

‘A Rights-Based Approach to the Israel-Palestine Conflict: The Best Prospect for Peace’

Monday 16 March 2009

6pm – 8pm

Undumbi Room, Level 5

Queensland Parliament House

(entry via Parliamentary Annexe)

Hosted by Evan Moorehead MP

State Member for Waterford

RSVP: or 3200 3477 Continue reading

Framework of Flesh

Framework of Flesh

Builders’ Labourers Battle
for Health & Safety

by Humphrey McQueen

This book takes up a 1920s challenge from a militant labourer, Charlie Sullivan:
“few ever think of the great and humble army whose sweat and blood are mingled in the concrete and bricks as surely as if the walls were built over a framework of human flesh.”
McQueen uses labourers’ own words to retell their battles around scaffolding and shithouses, for the safe removal of asbestos, prompt and adequate compensation, and a decent burial.

Continue reading


“We are from the Streets!”—  Sam Watson. On Anna Bligh’s website it says that  516 Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islanders live in South Brisbane (see from 2001 Census). I doubt that these figures are accurate but they are the best data … Continue reading

Michael Lebowitz

By Humphrey McQueen
(5 March)

Profits and surplus value

This is the second item in a sequence spotlighting elements in Michael Lebowitz’s ‘Marx’s falling rate of profit: a dialectical view’ from the Canadian Journal of Economics, IX (2), May 1976, pp. 232-54 (to be available on Continue reading

Support Pacific Brands Workers


The Pacific Brand workers are having a rally and it would be great to see some support from FairWear supporters!

Outside Myer in the Bourke St Mall

12 noon Thursday the 5th March Continue reading

Public Meeting: Stop the Intervention


Monday 9th of March, 6.30pm for a 7pm start.

Level 2 of the Trades and Labour Council Building, 16 Peel Street South Brisbane.


Barb Shaw, Intervention Rollback Action Group, Mt Nancy town camp
Sam Watson, Murri Activist and Academic, Uni of QLD.
Andy Duffin, Mona Mona Action Group, North QLD. Continue reading

An implosion of knowledge

By Humphrey McQueen

Meanjin, March 2009.

A poor box in the foyer of the National Library of Australia invites tourists to donate to the construction of a Treasures Gallery, a project which further devalues three of that institution’s treasures – its staff, its work-a-day collections and its readers.

During 1992, the National Library installed an exhibition space to compete for visitors with the War Memorial and the National Gallery. Over the summer of 2001-2, the Library garnered 168 gems from around the globe, including a scrap of paper on which Einstein had scribbled E=mc². The “showcased” presentation of these items as a cabinet of curiosities treated the public as gawkers. Typifying this disrespect to both the exhibits and the viewers, the E=mc² display did not explain the five components of that equation, as David Bodanis had done in his eponymous book the year before. Moreover, the vaunting of the Einstein formula was hypocritical since the Library had cancelled its order for his Collected Papers after volume two in 1993. Continue reading

Michael Lebowitz: ‘A dialectically materialist critic of political economy’

By Humphrey McQueen
28 February

Yea! Michael Lebowitz is coming to a conference near us. At Easter, this Canadian Marxist will address the DSP’s Sydney conference, ‘World at a Crossroads: Fighting for Socialism in the 21st Century’.

Boo! The Conference organisers have not programmed Lebowitz to lead a workshop on his Marxian critiques of political economy.

Let us hope that Lebowitz takes every opportunity to inject his understanding of the il-logic of capital into the proceedings. Continue reading