Vashti Fox is the author of The Story of Palestine: Empire, Repression and Resistance, available to purchase from Red Flag Books.
Early twentieth century Hollywood moguls declared themselves to be the bosses of a “dream factory”. They were the heads of an industry in which fantasies were splashed in technicolour glory across the big screen viewed by millions. Much ink has been spilled over the ideological nature of these fantasies. Less has been written on the reality of life in the factory. When the curtain is ripped away, Oz-like, the truth is revealed: Hollywood, and the film and television industry more generally, are sites of class exploitation and, at times, working-class retaliation.
Palestinians have their backs against the wall. In Gaza, they are subject to a devastating economic blockade and regular Israeli air offensives. In the West Bank, they have every aspect of their lives controlled and regulated by humiliating and often violent restrictions. Within the 1948 borders of Israel, they are routinely harassed, denied basic democratic rights and hounded out of their homes and off their land. In every part of historic Palestine, there are escalating levels of brutality, intimidation and repression. Nevertheless, there are flickers of resistance.
In the two years between Pauline Hanson’s election to parliament in 1996 and the eventual collapse of her party One Nation in 1998, many hundreds of demonstrations were held against her and her policies. From bucolic rural hamlets to windswept industrial centres, whenever Hanson or One Nation attempted to organise, so too would protesters. From the mild to the militant, opposition to One Nation became commonplace. A song satirising Hanson even made it to number ten in the ARIA music charts in 1998.
Aishwarya Aswath was 7 years old when she was carried by her father into the emergency department at Perth Children’s Hospital. She had a high temperature, her hands were cold, her eyes were cloudy and her body was floppy. Despite her parents’ efforts, for 90 minutes she received only sporadic attention from nurses, clerks and doctors. Three hours after entering the emergency department, Aishwarya went into cardiac arrest. Her death was avoidable.
Between 1984 and 1989, tens of thousands of lampposts, letterboxes and bus stops across Perth were covered with neo-Nazi posters bearing slogans such as “No Asians”, “No coloureds”, “White revolution: The only solution” and “Jews are ruining your life”. The poster campaign, initiated and organised by the Australian Nationalist Movement (ANM), was the opening salvo in a campaign of terror that ANM leader Jack Van Tongeren believed would make the city the centre of a fascist revolution.
Across Australia, more than 650 people have died with COVID in the last two weeks. Not one of those deaths occurred in Western Australia. Nearly 5,000 people are currently hospitalised. In Western Australia, the number is zero. The country is averaging around 70,000 new cases per day. In the west, we’ve thus far been lucky to keep it to around a dozen per day.